Elder Buxton at the Kyiv Temple while on a visa trip

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

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!
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

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!
Elder Buxton

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012

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!
Elder Buxton

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5, 2012

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."