Elder Buxton at the Kyiv Temple while on a visa trip

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