Elder Buxton at the Kyiv Temple while on a visa trip

Monday, April 16, 2012

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


Hurrah for Israel.~~

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 9, 2012

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

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

Monday, April 2, 2012

April 2, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

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

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

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

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012

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

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012

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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February 27, 2012

Privet!
This week was fantastic but also kind of a roller coaster. Unfortunately, it seems that S~ and S~ got a hold of some anti material or something because they aren't answering our calls. We texted them and asked if they were still interested and got no reply. :( They were so promising and golden! So we decided that we would just let them be for awhile and not call or text or anything. It was kind of a bummer but it's alright because there were a lot of ups this week as well. We went to Tyumen to do splits with the Zone Leaders there and that was a great experience It's always great to travel back to the old areas where I have served and see the people that I love. We then returned to Ekat and President was in Turkey this week for Mission President's Seminar so we had a lot of free time in our area which was really nice. We did sign boarding and had the question "What do you think? Why are there so many different religions in the world?" It has been a great success! It leads straight into the restoration of the gospel and that is the message that we are taking to the world. Each time we share the first vision on the street it's really cool because they get really quiet and we have yet to be interrupted while reciting the first vision. It brings such a special spirit and allows the Holy Ghost to testify to them. We have gotten a lot of numbers and even one young kid that we talked to came to church yesterday and is interested in meeting with us this week! Despite the opposition the Lord is blessing us with new investigators. On the way to Internet today we had a great experience as well. The phone rang and I answered it (of course) and it was a man speaking English. He said that his buddy gave him our number and that he didn't know that the church was in Ekat. He wanted to find out where the church was and meet with us as well. His name is M~ and he is from Nigeria. :) So we have a few promising new investigators lining up which will be super cool.
Also V~ is doing really great. The only problem with him is that he lives so far away and his computer is down right now, so we can't skype. But he is doing amazing and progressing well. He will probably get baptized when he comes into Ekat. We just don't know when that will be.
This week we are going to be a bit busy. We have some training for new missionaries and a few things that we get to do with President but we will be staying here in Ekat the whole week.
In one week I start my last transfer, kind of a scary thought.:( The weather here is really nice it feels like spring so we are going to play Frisbee today! Whoo hoo.
Well love you all,
Elder Buxton

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 20, 2012

Privet!!!
This week was sooo great! Elder Parson and I had a lot of time in our own area which is a really nice rare occasion for us. It was full of miracles! So first off when I was in Sergut, Elder Parson was in our area with Elder King and they were out on the street contacting. Well, they got really hungry so they went up to this kid about our age and asked him if he knew where they could find a sharuma(burrito type thing). Unfortunately, he didn't know. After he answered them, Elder Parson just started in, "well while we are talking to you, just so you know, we are here from America as church missionaries.... and we have a book of scripture that was written on the American Continent the same time as the Bible and talks about God's dealings with the people on that continent and how the Savior himself appeared to the people there. Elder P then asked if he would be interested. He said of course and took a Book of Mormon and and gave his number. We called him back and he has been reading the Book of Mormon every night before he goes to bed and is really enjoying it. He says that it's more clear than the Bible and it calms him down and gives him a peace. So we met with him by himself last Monday just in a mall and talked a little bit about who we are and we found out that he had already invited his whole work place to meet with us. So we set up a meeting at President's house on Wednesday. He showed up with a buddy and they are both so golden! We established our expectations on why we want to meet with them and then asked them what they want to get out of the meeting. They both said that they have the desire to come closer to God and know more about him. They want there to be more good in the world and less evil. It was a great meeting with an outpouring of the Spirit. They both took the commitment to read and to pray about the Book of Mormon. (Name) even pretty much bore testimony to (name) about the truthfulness of it. In the end we knelt down with them and had a kneeling prayer on the first meeting. It was great! Okay now for the second miracle! Remember our boy V~? The one who lives 250 kilometers out of the city and we got permission to teach him over skype? So unfortunately his computer is down right now so we can't skype but we still do have pretty much daily contact with him. So this last week we called him up and asked how his reading was going. He said that he read the whole Book of Mormon and knows that it's true. Then he said that after reading it, he gained a love for the scriptures and went out and bought himself a New Testament and is reading it as well. It was a huge testimony to us of the power of scripture. We only had one meeting with him before he left the city and invited him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. We also asked him if he would be baptized when he can to know that it was true. He said yes.:) He was sincere in his search for truth and got his answer. The Book of Mormon changed his life. He now has a love for scripture! So great. The Lord is really helping us along here in this part of his vineyard. Right now we have 3 potential Priesthood baptismal candidates. Oh yeah by the way N~(who I baptized) got her mission call this week to the Russia, Rostov mission. What a great experience to see! She'll be a great missionary. I have been so blessed with so many miracles on my mission. Some people may view the mission as a sacrifice but I view it as just one huge blessing. I have learned so much about everything. I realize that's a really general phrase but oh well. ;)
Crazy to think that Cohen can be 3 already! He was just a little tike when I left. Geez now when I get back Avery will be the size Cohen was when I left. Time really does fly! I think that it's cute that he says twain and ice tweam. Tell Jamie not to worry about it because I think that she probably does. ;) It's just cute.
That story about Jeana and Wayne really touched my heart. What great parents. Tell them that it is so great. It's true, I really don't see any down syndrome kids here. I have only seen about one or two my whole mission. I have actually wondered why. I hope that all goes well and let them know that they are in my prayers. Down syndrome kids are really so caring and loving. I doubt that they will need help but really if they do,I can translate. Right now that's a big part of what I do so they can give me a holla. :) when I'm home of course.
I'm loving the mish so much!
From Russia with love,
Elder Buxton

Monday, February 13, 2012

They're taking the Elders to Avangard:)

Elder Buxton at Salavat Yulaev
Bashkorstistan dancers

Privet!!!
This was a phenomenal week! Wow, full of so many great experiences. First, we found a really great potential new investigator last week and we have a meeting set up with him tonight. His name is A~. He is a young man our age and is actually already reading the Book of Mormon that we gave him on the street when we contacted him. We weren't able to meet with him this last week because we flew up to Ufa to do some splits with the Elders there. Ufa is really my favorite place on earth right now. So many miracles happen there. The trip started great on splits with the zone leaders Elder B(from Heber) and Elder D. We had great splits and then the next day we had splits in my old area with Elder A and P. It was a great day. To top it off we went to the Baskirian Dancers which was the best performance I have ever seen in my life. Wow, it was really breathtaking. They danced so well. I wish I could send the videos to you but some of the pictures will have to do. Also Sunday, we had another great experience with teaching a large group of people. The Elders got a phone call on the week and a man asked them if they would be able to come out and meet with a few people. They of course said yes and it just so happened that Elder P and I were there that weekend when it was set up. (everything happens for a reason) :) So we go out to the bus stop that he told us to go to. We met him and then he said "follow me it's about a 30 min walk from here." We followed him out to like a recreational type place where people go to rest and have fun and this guy is their activity director or something. So about 20 people were there waiting for us. We started the meeting off just by sharing a little about the American culture and things like that. We actually also sang "Hey Jude" for them and they sang to us a few classic Russian folk songs. Then we got to the topic of our faith and why we are here in Russia. We had a good conversation with them and then one man asked who our prophet was? I answered that his name is Thomas S. Monson and that he lives. Then the room just got silent and Elder P whispers "the Spirit just came." It was such a clear feeling and then we all testified about prophets and the apostasy and so on... It was so powerful. After the testimonies we just set there in silence and then they all applauded us. It was great! They loved it and the elect stayed to learn a little more even though it was dinner time. (there was one drunk lady who was a little too friendly so we avoided her) We went on to talk about the Book of Mormon and the gospel. There were a few elect people there and I can see some good things coming of it. The man who brought us there is actually not interested himself in the gospel (but loves sharing it for some reason?) haha, He wants to organize a field trip to bring them into church for an activity. That would be great! It was a great experience kind of like "the sermon to the bus". I will include a more detailed letter of it that Elder P wrote. He is hilarious. I think you will get a kick out of it. He has quite the way with words. It's all true but a little over emphasized haha. I'll send that letter after this one. So this week was fantastic and I loved going to Ufa and feeling at home. It's always great to see the members and investigators that I have such a great relationship with and the missionaries as well.
I want to wish Guy a happy b-day and my boy Cohen on the 19th! Both are getting pretty old ;) I love you lots! Take care.
Elder Buxton
PS I love grandma so much! Tell her thank you soo much for the letter. She is the best Grandma in the world and please hug her twice for me. Candace also wrote a very touching email and I love her so much too! Tell her(Candy Cane) that we have a date for sure without a question. She'll know what that means. Please pass on my love to the family. Grandpa is helping me out I know it. I love you all sooo much. Sounds like the jazz game was sweet!!!!!! I'm jealous. Love you take care

This is our epic weekend as written by Elder P. I think that he needs to look into majoring in some kind of writing profession. He is hilarious.
The ballad of the journey to the sanitorium... experienced by Elders Parson, Buxton, Aiken and Penfield

They're taking the Elders to Avangard!
It all began on a blistering cold evening in Ufa, dinner had recently been eaten by The October Elders--Aiken and Penfield, when from the desk in the other room, the phone sounds a delightful melody. They hurried to answer it, not knowing who the call was from, but eagerly awaiting an opportunity to talk with someone new. The callers name was G~, and he had an interesting proposition. He wanted to set up a meeting, and in very short, somewhat opaque terms, hinted that there may be a group of his friends there as well. The October Elders were elated to have the opportunity to do as the early church missionaries had done, and preach the gospel to large groups at once, and with this in mind, they set up the meeting for that Sunday evening.
As luck would have it, these Elders were due for splits with the Assistants that weekend, and so they decided to discuss it more with the Assistants when they arrived. When the topic came up, everyone thought it was going to be excellent, except for Elder Penfield, who insisted that this was a kidnapping attempt. The meeting approached as swiftly as a laser through the night sky, and after a joyous Sunday dinner with the Chernikovka Elders, who stayed to do dishes, the October Elders and the Assistants went off to teach to the multitude.
The place for the meeting had never been established, but the only information the small fellowship of Elders had was a bus number and a stop. They had been instructed over the phone that their contact would be waiting for them there and so they, on a whim of faith, boarded the bus towards the mystery shrouded meeting.
45 minutes later, the conductor indicated to them that this was in fact the bus stop at which they were to disembark and so, they got off the bus. No sooner had their feet touched the ground, then a man in a winter coat and blue jeans approached them and said simply, "Let's go, it is about 30 minutes walk from here," -- and they went. They journeyed over the freeway, and then down onto a path that led to a small town, and then to a road through the woods. The frozen asphalt on the road pricked at their feet through their shoes as they made their journey towards the meeting. While talking with this "G~," they found out that their arranged meeting was a little different than they had expected, in that their would be as many as 30 people waiting to talk to them, and that the premise of the meeting was as simple as getting to know and befriending some Americans. All this they learned as they walked with G~, as well as the name of the Sanitorium where the meeting would be held-- Avangard.
They entered the marble looking entry way to the sanitorium, and were greeted by friendly faces, and were then lead up three flights of stairs to the ball room of the building where the meeting was arranged to take place. G~ left them there for a while in order to go and invite those within the sanitorium to come and listen to us and get to know us a little. They began to trickle in the door, one, two, even three at a time, and they did their best to be the normal happy people they usually are. Nigh unto 15 minutes after the first person had entered the room, the Elders decided that they had better get started, and in standard missionary fashion, they wanted to begin with a song. Elder Aiken gave a dejected groan as he realized that there was no piano in the room, but then he remembered seeing one just outside in the small attache room. They quickly put their heads together and decided that the only song that would be suitable for a situation of friendshipping and ice breaking like that which they now had on their hands was in fact, Hey Jude. Elder Aiken put on a marvelous performance, and the rest of them muddled through the lyrics, clapping and all, and everyone in the room felt a little closer after that. They then returned to the ball room, and took their seats, but the people there had a treat there for the Elders also. They decided to play two songs for us, both of which would be accompanied by an accordion-- which was a treat in itself. They sang One song called Kartoosha, and the other has not been remembered. Both were excellent.
After the singing of songs, the questions came in as usual, concerning the differences between America and Russia, and they were masterfully answered as well as any politician could have done, slip-sliding away from definite answers as to which was better. But then as the questions went on, some man kicked off the meaty section of the conversation and said simply " Tell us about your faith." Better requests are not often made to missionaries, and the Elders were more than happy to oblige the request. Not many words on the subject were asked when another man asked, "Who is your prophet?" Elder Buxton opted to answer the question and as he began his powerfully simple response, the spirit entered the room... he said "His name is Thomas S. Monson, and he lives." The room went silent, and Elder Parson whispered to the other Elders "The Spirit just came in." The Elders began to testify of the truth and share the message of the gospel with the people in the room. When they had finished their testimonies, their was again a silence... and then... Applause? The Elders were slightly taken aback as the group began applauding their testimonies, it was indeed the last thing they expected.
As the meeting went on, we found out that at least one of those in attendance was a little drunk, and had a newly acquired and burning passion for the smooth facial features of Elder Buxton, but the others were seemingly genuinely interested. Some got up and left, others stayed but all heard at least a small part of the truth that their souls are searching for. 9 people at that sanitorium received a copy of the Book of Mormon, and a few less than that number read the entire introduction of the book with the Elders, and felt even more of the spirit that had come to dwell there for a season.
Only time will tell what may come of this meeting, perhaps a sanitorium field trip will be organized, and they will come and visit the Ufa branch with that group of 20 or so, or maybe not. Perhaps some of them will begin investigating the church on their own. Who knows? But what we can tell, is that when they took the Elders to Avangard, they couldn't foresee, that the Elders would take the gospel to them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February 6, 2011

Surgut Snow:)

Heyyyyyyy!
So this week was a great week like always. We found a great new investigator named V~. He is a young man studying here at a university from time to time. He lives way outside of the city which is a little unfortunate. He is solid however. Just a young man, 19 years old and interested in religion. He took the commitment to be baptized and we are excited to be working with him. He did go back to his city but we have been keeping connected with him over the phone and looking into getting permission to teach him over skype or something. He is so sincere and really wants to find out if it's true for himself. One little story I will share is that when we showed him how to pray Elder P was explaining it and he said "well first we fold our arms, close our eyes and bow our heads. Then we start by addressing our Heavenly Father, thanking him for the things we have and ask questions that we want to know, Then we close in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen," Then we showed him an example and asked "will you do that everyday?" He answered "Yeah, just I'm worried that I won't fold my arms right. Will you show me how to do it again?" Of course we explained to him that that's not the important part. The important part is the words. It's a simple story but it really showed how sincere he was and how he wanted to do things that were right. We are really excited about him.
Then Elder Painter and I took off to Surgut and it was a great time. It actually is a nice city and the people there seemed very accepting. We were able to have a lot of great conversations on the street and place a lot of Book of Mormons. We were able to meet with a few less actives and help them get the desire to come to church again. There were 20 people at sacrament meeting which was great to see. The city just got shut down not too long ago. They are now meeting in a members apartment on Sundays. They usually don't have any priesthood on the meeting but this time a less active brother of an active member came and brought his 17 year old son so there will be 2 brethren that hold the priesthood. There is also this little deacon E~ who is such a little stud. He goes every week and passes the sacrament if they have someone to bless it. Elder Painter and I met with him and went over Duty to God. It was a great experience. I felt kind of like a Dad haha. It's really humbling and sad to see a branch struggle like that when we have such strong wards in America. But then I remind myself that this is how the church started, really small. Satan will try to do all that he can to stop it but we are stronger and will prevail. I don't know if I have already shared with you the plan that President Rust has put forward. It is that this mission will have a stake in it in 5 years! Its so exciting to think about! We will just have a few cities in the stake Ufa, Ekat, Perm and Chelyabinsk. It's so cool to think about. It will be a pretty big territory but it won't even be the biggest stake in the world so it's possible. It's great to see the members get excited about it here.
Everything really is going so well. You're so right when you say that nothing is a coincidence. It was great for Elder Parson and I to give each other comfort when both of our grandpas died and it really did lighten the burden to mourn with those who mourn. I really have felt the prayers of so many family and friends. I love you all take care!
Love,
Elder Buxton
p.s to answer your question, we do travel a lot on Sundays to different branches. In fact we are going to Ufa this Sunday to have a branch conference. It will be great to return back to my mother land. haha;) But we do also go to church in Ekat a lot. Did that answer your question? I love you lots.

Monday, January 30, 2012

January 30, 2012

Hey Fam!
Wow, this week was an emotional but great one. First off, I just want to thank everyone who has been praying for our family and for me. I have really felt the comfort of prayer and of the spirit. One blessing that I was able to receive was that I had my last visa trip and we had enough time in Finland that I was able to do baptisms, initiatories, and an endowment session at the temple. It truly was a tender mercy of the Lord. I felt that grandpa was near the whole time. He had probably been teaching the people that I did the ordinances for (all Russian) so he really is serving right along beside me. The temple was just what I needed to lift my spirits. Each time I go my testimony of the Plan of Salvation is strengthened. This time was really special because I was able to apply it to myself in a very personal manner. I sure do love the gospel and the knowledge of peace and happiness that it brings to each of us. I don't know what I would do without the knowledge of eternal families. It truly is a blessing and now I understand it even more. I was so happy to hear of the funeral services and the bond that the family had there. I sure do hope that we all continue to do so and let the atonement heal every wound. That's what grandpa would want and that's what the Savior made possible if we will just accept it.
Elder Parson and I have been studying the Plan of Salvation together in our companionship studies because his grandpa died too, just a little before grandpa. It is the only two phone calls of death that President Rust has received on his mission and it just happened to be his assistants within one week of each other. It really is a testimony to me that everything happens for a reason and that the Lord knows what he is doing. Both of our testimonies have grown a ton and we both are understanding the true meaning of the atonement. I can testify that I know the meaning of the atonement was all for love. Jesus has a perfect love for us. He understands all that we are going through. We talked about how it is easier to love and get comfort from someone who experienced the same things that you have been through (for example Elder Parson and I being able to help each other out in the time of our grandfathers' deaths) and how that's why the Savior loves us. That is why he can heal us because he has been through exactly what we have been through. He knows our every pain, and grief and I believe he also knows our joy and happiness and love. He is the perfect example of love and he knows us inside and out. That's why we need to love Him because He really did love us first and understands us perfectly. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. It really is so simple and it can all be brought down to one thing and that is love. God wants us to become like him, to learn and to grow and then to return to him for one simple reason because he loves us. God is love.
This week I am going to have an interesting experience. Elder Painter and I (he's not my comp, we are just going on a split because he knows the city) are going to Surgut for a few days (a city in our mission that was shut down about 6 months ago) We are going to meet with the members there and try to see if we can get some brethren active so that they can have a group leader up there and eventually become a branch again. So it's kind of going to be a cool experience. Surgut is way up north and it's going to be freezing there. We are just going to go up there and stay in a hotel and try to find investigators and stuff as well. We are just going to go wild and work really hard and speak with everyone that we see. Luckily we are going to fly up there and not take the 21 hour train ride. So wish us luck, we could use your prayers! Especially Big Al's since I hear that they are calling him REV now days. ;) Keep it up buddy!
I will say that I'm pretty jealous about the Jazz game haha. You couldn't have waited a little longer to cash in on the tickets Guy?! haha just kidding. I hope you have a great time. It sounds like it will be a great family outing. Be sure to give Jamo my love and tell him that I'm proud of him and that he'll be a great missionary. This is the greatest work on earth! I've never been so happy and satisfied with my life.
From Russia with love,
Elder Buxton

Dear Grams,
I love you sooo much. Thank you for the example that you and Grandpa are in my life. I really love you both so much and I know that Grandpa is helping me out right now. He hasn't started any water fights yet either but I don't think that he can hold off that long. I know that you really miss him but I promise you that he is nearer than you think. I had the opportunity to be in the temple (it just so happens I think that it was the same time you were there) last week and I really felt his presence. I was praying really hard and I felt the spirit so strongly when we were doing confirmations. One of the temple workers broke out into tears and testified to us that the spirits of the dead were right there with us. I know that Gramps was there. I started crying and I felt a warm feeling of love. I knew that the temple workers testimony was an answer to my prayers. Grandpa lives. He is teaching the Russian people up in heaven. He's having the time of his eternal life right now. It's hard for us to not have him physically here with us but he is here! I know that Grandma. Stay strong! I love you so much. I want to hug you sooo bad so I'm sending you an email hug and kiss. You are the best Grams in the world. I love you.
Love,
Carson

Monday, January 23, 2012

1/23/12

In Loving Memory of Gramps Charles Sheldon Taylor,

Grandpa was known for his humor, kind heart and loving service. I can't count the times I saw him lying under our cars fixing stuff, working on our sprinkler system or anything around our house that needed fixing. He always thought of himself last and was always ready to help. He was the best Grandpa in the world and I know that anyone who he held that title to would agree with me. He truly was a best friend to all of his grandchildren and I can especially say that for myself. During hard times in my life Grandpa was always there to lift me up and say just the right words to lift my spirit. He was a great example to all and if it weren't for him we would all be different people than we are today.
I know that a lot of the reason that I am on my mission is thanks to the example and love for the gospel that Grandpa has. When I was young he would make sure to take me to the general priesthood session (even if I did try a little to get out of it) and I'm thankful that he did. He set an example in serving two missions in his lifetime which had a big impact on me and the choice I made to serve. Honestly he was one of the hardest people to say goodbye to when I left. Because I did have the thought that maybe I wouldn't see him again in this life. But when a few months ago he wrote me and told me that he was putting his papers in to serve a mission after hearing the counsel of the prophets, I was so happy to think that his health was good enough and that I would see him again! The news just got better when the next day I went to President Rust's house and he expressed the need for more senior couples and the need for an office couple in our mission. I didn't hesitate one second to proudly say that my Grandpa had just written me and expressed that he wanted to serve a mission. President Rust was also very excited and he called grandpa and asked him to serve here in Russia with us. I was so excited at the thought of being able to serve along the side of my good ol' gramps. Unfortunately the doctors said that his health wasn't good enough and that they weren't going to send him over seas. Just like stubborn old Grandpa would, he wrote me and told me that he didn't need any doctor to tell him what he could and couldn't do and that he had enough faith and that he was going to come anyways. He always had a way of getting around things and not listening to doctors, so he just did it his own way.
After completing his final mission papers, he received his calling on Jan 20 to serve the Lord on the other side of the veil. Honestly, I have never felt so close to him. I know that he is one of the angels helping me out here on my mission and that he is serving right along beside me. Looks like we got our chance to serve together with or without the doctor’s permission. I know that he is in a better place now. In Alma 40:11-12 it reads "Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life. And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow." Grandpa is in a state of happiness and peace. He is now preaching the gospel just as he loved to do here. Except now he can do it without worry, without a troubled heart or doctors and daughters to tell him what to do. He is happy! In Doctrine and Covenants 138 we read about when the Savior went to the spirit world and preached the gospel to the dead. In verse 30 we read what he did. "He organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus the gospel was preached to the dead." Joseph F. Smith in verses 55-57 says “I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God. Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation of the souls of men. I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel of repentance and redemption, through the sacrifice of the Only Begotten Son of God, among those who are in darkness and under the bondage of sin in the great world of the spirits of the dead." Grandpa truly was and is a noble and great one and is now a faithful elder continuing his service in preaching the gospel and is living his dream. I love the scripture in 1st Corinthians 15:22 "for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
We will all live again. Thanks to our Savior and his atonement we can return to our Loving Heavenly Father and live with him forever. In order to do so we need to accept the atonement in each and every one of our personal lives. Thanks to our Savior, all that is unfair and hurtful in this life can be made whole if we will accept the Atonement. The power of the Atonement heals all. If you have been offended, forgive your offender! If you offended ask for forgiveness! Let us be a unified family and follow the example of our Savior. Grandpa was a great example of following Christ through loving service. Let us all learn from his example. Let's be a loving eternal family and rally round each other for help. You will be missed Gramps, the reunion will be a happy one. I Love you dearly.
Your best friend and Grandson,
Elder Carson Buxton

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012

Privet,
So this week was a busy one. First off we had leadership training for the trainers and trainees. Then we had zone leader council. They were both great spiritually uplifting experiences. President and Sister Rust are great teachers. It's great hearing from them. We also traveled to Kurgan this weekend for church. We went in Presidents car. It's about a 5 1/2 hour ride there. The scenery is pretty, much like Utahs. There were a lot of pines and stuff on the side of the road, pretty interesting. It was my first time in Kurgan and it is a small but great branch. The missionaries there are all champions and work really hard. The work is going forward. Elder Parson and I are still trying really hard to find new investigators and trying to be creative with our ways. We did receive a rare media referral this last week, that was a success. She is about a 30 year old woman with a small child. When we stopped by she said she didn't really remember ordering a Book of Mormon. But she was nice and wanted to meet, so we passed her over to the sisters. It will be cool to see what comes from that.
This week we are heading up to Chelyabinsk to do some exchanges with the Elders up there and draw up some new boundaries for the new area that we are opening up there. It's great that we are finally getting up to our quota of around 50 missionaries and being able to establish these centers of strength. So now in Chely there will be 4 sets of missionaries. We are also opening up two new area's in Ekat but we already drew up those boundaries last week. This is the last week of the transfer so we are trying to get everything prepared and ready for when the new missionaries come in. Our mission is so great. We have a strong unity here because it is so small (well by the amount of missionaries anyways, land wise it's anything but small). We really have a culture of obedience and hard work. It's great being able to serve and work with all the missionaries here. This morning my study topic was teaching by the spirit. I read that conference talk "Teaching After the Manner of the Spirit" It opened my eyes again. The one thing that really stuck out to me was when he said that rather than asking ourselves: what can I do to help my children, class, or investigators or missionaries as in my case or what can I do for them? Instead, We should ask ourselves: What can I do to help them learn for themselves? You see because really the Holy Ghost is the teacher and when they get the answer straight from Him for themselves on what they need to do and then apply it in there lives, it's so much more effective than just hearing it from me or my companion and teaching "in front of the Holy Ghost". I know that it seems really simple when written out but more often than not I ask myself the very question that he says we should not ask. I ask what can I do to help this investigator or this missionary? When really the correct question is, What can I do to help them learn for themselves? So I have started applying that in my life. That is my new question that I ask myself. I really enjoy it and it brings teaching into a whole new light.
Things here are going great! I love the work. Thanks for your love and prayers. My prayers go out to you as well. Love you much!
Elder Buxton
Tell Doni congrats on the new baby. That's so exciting, pass on my love to him and the family.

Tell Candy cane thanks for her letter and that it was all understandable. I'm glad that she is studying PMG, it is the best. I know that it will help her. Remember to always find comfort in the scripts. Love Cars


Tell Vova (Elder Zhdanov) that I love him and am proud of him and that he should write me. There is no need to worry about a language barrier, he speaks English amazingly everything will be understandable.

Monday, January 9, 2012

PRIVET!!
The New Year's was great! I love this time of year. It really does seem like forever ago that I wrote you. I'm glad to hear that all went well with Wrandi's reception. And I'm definitely game for Guy's offer of 50 bucks to memorize The Living Christ. Ask him if he'll throw in another 50 if we do it in another language. ;)
My birthday was great! We discovered a hidden talent that I have. Yes, I can play a mean kazoo. haha Funny story Elder E~ got some kazoo's in his Christmas package. We got them out and I'm not going to lie it took us awhile to know how to work them haha. But we got it figured out and it sounds just like a saxophone. And yes I did get my package! Thank you I love you sooo much. Every time I hear about Cohen and Avery they sound like they are getting so big I can't believe it! I want to see them soo bad. I have the best fam in the world.
Things here are great! This week We tried some more bus singing and it was a great success! We just get on the buses and start caroling. It really does invite the spirit and soften hearts. It just makes us all sooo happy and loving. I feel a genuine love for each and every person on the bus when we sing. We have people try to give us money or candy and things like that all the time. It's quite funny to see their reactions when we don't accept the money, (notice we accept the candy) ;) and then give them a little brochure in return and invite them to know more about Christ. People even get up and start video taping us, so be looking out for the Ekat Bus Quartet on youtube. haha. It's been great we really enjoy it. It helps my testimony grow each time. We are just trying to get our name out there and known for good and service. Perm was also great! The members there are so strong and loving. We had a conference type thing and we dissolved the district there. The city was made one solid branch that can function really well in order to prepare us to become a stake. President Rust wants to have one here within a year! He is a great man and so inspired and powerful. It's a pleasure to work with him and Sister Rust. They both are great examples. Sister Rust takes care of us just like a mom would take care of her son's. She's great. Unfortunately we didn't get to met with the cab driver and its not looking to promising. :( But there are others who are elect, we will find them. I love this experience so much.
Another thing I've learned is when those I love hurt, I wish that I could take the pain from them. But we all know that the only person who can is Christ. We can't understand why some things happen the way they do or why some people that we love act the way they act. It hurts really bad and I think this is something that we all have had plenty of in our lives. I know that when things are hard and it feels like family, friends, and relatives don't understand you, remember this, that they won't fully understand you. Only the Savior can. Even though I feel like I understand when those I love hurt, I don't and I never will know all their pain. However I do know this with all my heart that ALL can overcome trials. The Lord has big plans. He loves us perfectly. When down, read the talk "None Were with Him" by Jeffrey R. Holland I don't know and understand everything but I have learned on my mission that the Lord is always near, especially when we feel alone. In fact that's when he is closest. We can choose our attitudes. We can choose to be happy no matter the circumstances. That is one thing that I have learned is that happiness is a choice. We just need to stay strong follow the commandments and we will be blessed. In Preach my Gospel one of the questions of the soul is, How can I find peace and happiness? The answer is located in Mosiah 2, and 4. Study it and let me know what you found out. I know everything can and will be healed by the Atonement. I love you all so much. Take care.
From Russia with love,
Elder Buxton
P.S. HAPPY B-DAY CANDY CANE!!!!!!!!!! Tell big dude thanks for the email and that I love him. Tell Pooch as well that I love him and thanks for his email. Tell Jamo I love him and that he will be a bomb missionary. Take care!! Much love.
Carson