Monday, June 29, 2015

Love, for the last time, Elder Benjamin Paxman

Getting Prepared....

Dear Mom,

I received a picture of you with your face covered in frosting?  How did they get your face slammed in the frosting? Who did it? I let them slam my face in the cake. She (Lupita or Vinceta) wanted to do it, so I figured sure... It’s going to happen anyway.

Was it hard to say goodbye to your investigators and the members? I have cried a lot... And will probably more today. Our investigators are doing really well. It was hard to say goodbye to all of them. I did get to go to the temple with Celeste. It was amazing. Yea we taught a good amount of lessons this last week.

What do you think is the most important thing you learned from serving your mission?  I have learned more than a million things mom... So I cannot answer that question mom. Especially with the limited time I have...

Okay so this is going to be really short. So something I have tried to live my mission and my life by is a poem that I found a long time ago, but that became famous through a movie. It is by an Indian Chief that is famous here in Indiana which is a nice coincidence.

 "So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.  Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."
~Chief Tecumseh. 

     I have tried to do my best to live up to this and all the other standards the church and others have placed for me. I hope and pray that I have done enough. My mission has changed my life, hopefully others too, but if not, than my life is enough. I have fought the good fight, I have sailed my course. I have learned, loved, laughed, cried, and toiled over many a things these last two years. I know that this is the only true church upon the face of the earth. It has made all the difference in my life. There are two things that are the most important to me. First my family, it is where I have found the most happiness in my life, and my family will hopefully grow in the future. Second is the church for without it, I cannot have my family forever. I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and He has blessed and helped me throughout my life. I owe Him more than words can say. I love Him as much as my imperfect self can at times. I want my witness to be as those of the prophets of old, and the angels in Heaven testifying that He is, was and forever shall be, the very Son of God, My Prince of Peace and my Redeemer. I hope someone has benefited from these emails over the years. If not they have blessed and enriched my life, and I am sure will do the same in years to come. I love you all, and will see you shortly. And I have never ended my emails. So all of what I have said, I say in the name of Jesus Christ my friend and brother, Amen.

Love, for the last time, Elder Benjamin Paxman. 

P.S. Well at least for a young kid. hahaha

Monday, June 22, 2015

1 Week Left To Serve: My 3 Most Memorable Moments in the Mission!!

Dear Mom,

Okay, so I am feeling pretty good, although I am not sure if that is just for now or what. So I am sure I will be good. I am hoping it won't be a bother though as I say goodbye to people and such here in the last week of the mission. Yes when I went to Indy for my Dr. Appointment I was able to see Celeste, I stopped by a few others, but they were either working or not home. So it went well. It was good to see her, although I cried when I had to say goodbye, and I am sure it will be only one of the few times I cry here in the near future... Stinkin boo hooie genes mom!!

I am excited for the day’s events when I come home, but also super duper sad to see it coming... I really wish I could stay longer as a missionary, but I know that the time is done, and that I need to move on to the next great adventure.

This week has been really good other than the me being sick part... That kind of bites, but otherwise it has been really good. Lupita and Vinceta are doing good and  Patty is also doing well, a young girl we found who has recently moved here from Texas and from there El Salvador. So it was really cool to talk with her. It has been hard saying goodbye to quite a few people over the last few days. I can't even imagine what it will be like saying goodbye to the rest of the people here...

Name your 3 most memorable/best moments in the mission. Mom, the three best moments is like trying to pick which breath is my favorite... It cannot be done!!  So maybe just a few of the moments I have loved explained in a brief sentence or statement.  
One was the Diaz family, watching them be baptized, that was an amazing experience for me, especially with all the hard trials and times before it.
Another was finding Celeste, one of the only times I have taught the entire Restoration and Plan of Salvation in one lesson.
Another was Teaching Karina Banda in Columbus.
Another was having so many great companions. Elder Hjelm, Elder Rowberry, Elder Ryan, Elder Labrum and many many more.
Watching Yazmine be baptized.
The Pentecostal preacher experience... That one will be in my mind forever.
Teaching Drew, As well as the thousands of other people.
Meeting Lupita and Vicenta.
Meeting all the members.
Being in the hospital for a week, with all of its trials and such.
There are really thousands upon thousands mom. Filing it down to three is impossible. I don't know if I could contain it all in a library filled with books. Because there are best moments in everything, best moments with companions. Best lessons taught, best nonstop laughter moments. There are really just too many. So sorry I kind of answered that question and kind of not... Well tough cookie!!

One more week my son and one more email from home, can you believe it?  Yea I cannot believe it either mom... It kind of breaks my heart a little. A little piece of me will probably always be with the people I have left out here in Indiana. It will be good to see you all though. "There and Back again.." A missionary’s tale... hahaha I could totally make that work. My mission as other moments in my life has indeed been a refiner’s fire. It has made me a much better man, and shown me where I falter, and lifted me to new heights. I will miss it, as do we all it seems. Thank you for your thoughts mom. They were much appreciated. I indeed hope I have touched at least one other soul besides my own throughout this experience of a mission. I have heard many people tell me I have done a many hard thing. To me they seemed hard at times yes, but I always had The Angles of God bearing me up along the way. Even when I faltered, the hand always came through the smoke to pick me up. My life has been a brutally talented teacher to me, and I believe to others, as has all of our lives in one way or another. My trials were and are no greater than anyone else's. I am still young even though it does not feel that way at times. I am not the best writer, nor teacher, but I do know that this Gospel is true, and it has been enough for me. It has indeed been more than enough. I have loved the mission, and it and Them (the Godhead) have loved me more than I can even fathom. My mission may not have changed many, or maybe it has changed more than I know, but again it has changed me, and it has made all the difference. I know that my Savior lives! I have not seen him, nor heard his voice so to speak, but he has spoken with me in many a quiet moment, and offered the sweetest counseling and knowledge I could have ever wished for. He is always there for us, Him and his angles. I have often felt, the angles of God, many of whom I believe are those who have gone on before, pushing me and helping me. For without them, I would have failed. But the Gospel is to be preached by the weak (now that is scripture so there is no denying it!), and I at many times have been so feebishly weak. I will forever be grateful to have served, and served again. The time with the tag on my chest is near gone, but it will forever be engraved on my heart for the eternities to come. And maybe just maybe on the hearts of those whom I have known. Thank you for everything mom, and everyone else who has supported me. If I could repay you I would, but I will never have that opportunity so I hope I have done what I was called to do. I love this gospel, and times will get rough ahead, for all of us, but we need not worry. For if we are prepared we may see "The Salvation of our God..." I know this to be true. I love you and I will send one last email to you this next week. It will be pretty short. For I will only have a few moments to write. I wish heavens blessings upon you, and a happy and joyful week!

Love, Elder Paxman
(For just a bit longer...)

Mi Compadres... My Companions

Elder Paxman's Companions.  Or as he would say Mi Compadres, all young men he grew to love and who each taught him something.

#1 MTC Companion Elder Johnston

#2 A trio with his Trainer Elder Cozzens and a Visa Waiter Elder McDaniel
Cumberland Indiana, (Indianapolis)

#3 Elder Hjelm
Cumberland Indiana, (Indianapolis)

#4 Elder Mancilla
Elkhart, Indiana

#5 Elder Hansen
Logansport, Indiana

#6 Elder Busath
Logansport, Indiana

#7 Elder Markward
Cumberland, Indiana (Indianapolis)

#8 Elder Rowberry
Cumberland, Indiana (Indianapolis)

A four month break at home for illness.

#9 Elder Golledge
Seymour, Indiana

#10 Elder Seegmiller
Seymour, Indiana

#11 A Trio Elder Rowberry and Elder Blood
Columbus, Indiana

#12 Elder Ryan
Columbus, Indiana

#13 Elder Trapp
Lafayette, Indiana

#14 and Final Companion Elder Labrum
Lafayette, Indiana

"Some missionaries may wonder whether they are in the right place, in the right mission. It is no accident for them to be where they are assigned. The Lord knows the missionaries. He knows their mission presidents. I think He knows who their companions will be. I don't know the detail to which He knows the future, but my impression is He knows a great deal.
He calls missionaries to the places they are assigned. So, even when it's difficult, you can have confidence that the Lord knew the difficulty in advance, and just as He assured Nephi that He wouldn't give a commandment save He prepared a way for it to be accomplished, missionaries can have that same assurance, tough as it may be, whatever the situation, that the Lord knew the difficulties would be there. He has prepared a way. Have faith. Go forward."

Elder Henry B. Eyring

Monday, June 15, 2015

2 Weeks left to Serve: My 3 Funniest Moments in the Mission!

As we near the end, I thought we would look back at a few pictures from the beginning.

His first companionship

I think first District minus the Sisters

Elder Paxman and his very first companion Elder Johnston

The night before leaving the MTC, both pointing to their destination.

Elder Paxman's adventure in Indy begins!

Dear Mom,

The work has been good. We are finding a lot of good people, which will be nice for these boys when I am gone. I wish I could be here to keep teaching our investigators though, but some things are just not supposed to happen. They are doing pretty good; I am hoping to see around 3 baptisms before the end of my mission. We will see how it all pans out though. So I will let you be in suspense about that one... ;) Yes they are all still progressing and they were all at church today. It makes me so happy to see them doing so well. Rodrigo we have not been able to teach... I am not sure why, but he just hasn't been there, plus we hear he has gotten a new job... So that is a bummer.  I feel like we have been keeping busy, and we have done some service nothing too big, just smaller stuff here and there. We tract or go by potentials to stay busy, or formers. We try to keep ourselves busy as much as we can though. I will try and take pictures goodness mom... hahaha it is a lot harder than you think. I am trying though.

We found a few new people a girl named Patty who is new here from El Salvador who is really nice. We hope to keep teaching her. Also a guy named Carlos from Columbia who is a good guy here with his wife who is going to college at Purdue.

What are the three funniest moments/memories from the mission? The three funniest things... Well there are too many...

One was at the start of my mission... We were coming back from a soccer activity we had been at with members. On the way to the soccer activity, we had already all three changed in a taco bell bathroom and that was embarrassing. So I came up with this idea when it was time to change back. Hey why not the church?! I know we don't have a key, but there is a white fence around the parking lot. So all that we have to do is park in the corner and use the car and the car door to block two sides and the fence the other. Good idea right!? Well we get there and Elder Cozzens is still on the driver’s side, so only the car to cover him. We start changing and he drops his pants (jeans). So he is standing there in his G's and I get my belt off when I look up. All of the sudden a silver car turns into the parking lot. Instantly I know who it is. I yell SISTERS!!!!!!!!! So here we are pretty much stripping in the parking lot, Elder McDaniel and I are covered by the car and still haven't taken off any major articles of clothing minus shoes. While Elder Cozzens is in the open with his pants around his ankles!!! So the sisters pull in and he superman leaps into the car! He starts screaming get in the car! GET IN THE FREAKING CAR!!!!!!!!! Elder McDaniel and I start losing it with laughter as we try and get in the car. But there was one problem... The trunk was open... So he screamed for a good forever until I got out and closed it. The sisters turned and waved and I waved back. I then get in the car to Elder Cozzens still having a breakdown, and still with his pants around his ankles. He then drives off with his pants still around his ankles having a heart attack. hahahahahahaha I was dying. He would probably kill me if he knew I was telling this story. We got a really good laugh out of that one. (I guess the cat will be out of the bag, since it’s now on the blog, guess Elder Paxman didn’t think of that.)

Another funny one is of us getting our car towed. I will skip that one. One time we get a call from a member family in Logansport. You know how we always tell people "let us know if there is anything we can do for you!?" They always say no. Well we get a call from these people and they say they need our help. They tell us they need some toilet paper for something. We were like well we can't bring it for about an hour or so, I can’t even really remember how long. So we go get it, and go to their home. We knock on the door and the husband answers. He is Puerto Rican, but is also from New York area. So imagine that accent, in English. We knock with about two rolls in our hands. When all of the sudden we hear this "JUNIOR!!!!! DID YOU CALL THE ELDERS YET!!!! I NEED SOME TOILET PAPER!!!!!! I GOTTA WIPE!!!!!!!" Oh man did we lose it. So we hear that and variations of that screamed from the trailer bathroom. (They lived in a trailer.) For about what felt like 10 min. He then came to the door and said "Thanks a bunch guys...". We hear again "HURRY IT UP JUNIOR!!!!!!!!!! I GOTTA WIPE!!!!!" We did our best to keep a straight face... So it was really funny. We laughed for a really long time about that one in the car.

The story of the stalker is pretty funny, and kind of scary... Another good one was when Elder Hjelm crashed on his bike.. now my bike I guess... Anyway we are riding down this street. He is on one side and I am on the other, as I crossed just earlier anticipating the turn to come. He is riding and a dog attacks the chain link fence he is riding next to. He swerves a little but maintains control. He then looks back at the dog, but misses something... So you know those big power poles. How they have a cable that comes off the sides, that has a yellow thing on the bottom. Well when he swerved he lined up with that, then looking back runs into the thing with his handler bars, which makes the bike for flying with him on it. He lands in a big pile of dirt in his nice white shirt. So I stop.... Now comes my moment of decision... Do I see if he needs help, or just stay over here? By this point he has gotten up, stomped around a little, looking a little angry. So I decide to stay on my side of the street and yell.. "Hey are you all good..." I see a glare of despise and a sarcastic thumbs up as it looks like he just slid into home-plate in a white shirt and tie. I was doing my best not to laugh.

So there you have it. There are hundreds more, but I thought that would be sufficient for today.

 I am still feeling like my happy normal self. On Sunday we ate with two different member families and just had a good time with some members. It was really nice. We are also working on planning our/my last temple trip a little bit.

You have a last doctor’s appointment this week?  Make sure to transfer your care back to the Doc at the U. Do you think you will get to visit a few converts and friends in the city?  It would be nice to be able to say good bye.  I hope to visit a few converts in the city when I go back down. Yea my last appointment is this week. I will let her know mom
Trenton came home.  He did a good job on his homecoming talk.  He looks about the same. It is good to see him. That is good he is doing well. I am excited to see the bugger. We have a lot of time to catch up on. I bet it is quite the shock for him to be home from his mission. He is a good dear friend.

How has your weather been?  Are you experiencing the mid-west summer heat? The weather has been really humid and pretty hot. Lots of little thunder bumpers that last about 30 min, which makes it really humid and hot.

Can you believe in 2 weeks and just a day you will be home? How are you feeling about that? Yea it is really hard to believe for me that I will be home in such a short time... It makes me sad. It has been some of the best two years or 25 months of my life. It has been amazing. But I still got plenty of time.

Okay so this has gotten really long, so just a brief spiritual thought. I have thought a lot this week about faith, and religion, and who we are, as well as a load of other things. Have you heard the parable of the pinecone? So think of ourselves like a pine cone. It takes us a long time to grow and we start small, we work and grow. One day we are put to the test, fire comes so to speak. It is then our time to shine, we grow bigger by spreading open and casting our seeds everywhere. For all of those who are around us. We are put through moments of fire throughout our lives, for many different reasons. One is to share our experiences with others. My mission has changed my life, and I hope it has changed the lives of at least a few other people. I am no great missionary as Ammon, or spiritual giant as the Brother of Jared. I am just a young adult, who is doing his best to tell people that there is always something better coming along, if we fight for it! I know that we are destined to be happy; it is part of who we are. We are all in a dire search to find it every day. And it seems the search starts over at the rise of each new sun. I know that we can be happy through this gospel and all it teaches us, if we but apply it and live it. I am grateful for all of you and your examples towards me. The parable of the pine cone is really long, but I do not have time to write it all, so I did my best to explain a tiny part of it, in a really short time. Well I love you all and I hope to hear from you soon. If not I will see you in the not too distant future!

Love, Elder Paxman

Monday, June 8, 2015

3 Weeks left to serve: My 3 Scariest Moments in the Mission!

A Picture from the beginning of the mission.  Sometime in the first 3 months in Indiana.
 Elder Paxman, his trainer Elder Cozzens and the Visa waiter in their trio Elder McDaniel plus other Elders from I think the White River branch.

Dear Mom,

I am doing much better emotionally this week; actually luckily it was kind of just a one week thing. I am down to write emails again haha. Who knows with next week though?

Now we are nearing the end of the mission and the end of emails.  Daddy and I are going to have you tell us something specific each week for the last 3 emails.

Name your 3 scariest moments in the mission: Scariest moments on my mission... hahaha Mom, I don't think I will answer this question truthfully; I might have to edit them so you won’t freak out.  One was the first day here in Indy and getting anti’d hard core!! It was a 30 min. fiasco inside of Walmart after I had been a missionary in the field for about an hour. This white guy comes up with really blue eyes wearing a tan suit coat and jeans. Preacher style. Then he comes up to me, because I was first and the first thing he says is "Now I know they kill some of you...." I am sure I looked like a terrified child. My trainer was even like oh crap we are about to get shot!!! So the guy then goes on about kidnapping and all this crazy stuff, and torture. Then he says how he knows the only way the church keeps us on missions is to torture us and threaten us with death.  So if we misbehave we get killed, tortured, and a whole lot of other stuff. That was terrifying, and indeed a moment in the refiner’s fire.

Second. Probably losing my companion for about 30 min. in a sketchy part of town and being on a bike, that was a piece of crap. Also when a group of black men said to come here.... I don't think I have ever peddled that freaking bike so fast in my life!! Of course these are really brief versions of the stories, because if not they would take forever to talk about.

The third... this has been really hard to choose. Also I do want to clarify, many times scary stuff has happened, but you don't feel scared, and the Lord does indeed protect his missionaries. Anyway the third that I can think of right now... Probably being sexually advanced on by some really attractive young women... Mainly, because the temptation is there. Now don't judge me, but they missionaries are not blind. It was scary, because of the thought of falling and failing, which in that moment becomes a lot more real... Luckily some quick thinking on our part got us out of there with no issues. There are hundreds more mom, but like I said I didn't answer it all truthfully, you would have a freak out if you knew some of the stuff I have seen... There was a time we watched a guy get gunned down pretty much in front of us, or seeing a lot of prostitutes, or stepping out of the car to hear the clang of bullet shells under your feet. Getting chased by dogs, and jumping fences. As well as a whole slew of others! hahaha so yep.

That is cool that you had all of those storms!! I would have liked to see that! It would be super cool!! I can’t believe they had some tornadoes in Utah, I am sure you would be freaking out over tornadoes. I think it would be cool to see one. Also of course some touched down in Utah, the place where they never happen, and they happen when I am not in the freaking state!! Of course that is how it works!! Not to mention while I am hear, a place where tornadoes are not totally uncommon and pretty much one hit, that's it. It wasn't even that bad... Lame.
How are your investigators?  Rodrigo we have not been able to teach, he has been really busy. So we will keep trying. Vicenta and Lupita are doing really well. They both came to church! So that was great! I am hoping to see them baptized before I finish my mission. Daniel is doing good, we haven't been able to meet with him. So we are hoping it all goes well there. He wasn't able to come to church because of some other things. We have a lesson with him this week. So it should go well.

Luckily the depression thing is gone. I am back to my normal peachy self. Which is nice. Thanks for the comments on the mission though mom. They were really good to hear. Although, I am indeed doing better it is just hard to think of the mission ending. Although, I feel sure I have more hormones than a freaking pregnant lady, but all will be well.

Well as far as my spiritual thought. This week was my last fast Sunday in the mission....  So I kept up the tradition of bearing my testimony every fast Sunday. Of course like you mom, I cried... Freak I hated it that I cried. Although, it was amazing to feel the spirit work through me to touch the hearts of others. I was not the only one to shed a few tears. My mission has changed me for the better, from now and into forever. It has prepared me for life, and all of its adventures. I will forever cherish every moment, even the hard ones, the scary ones, the not so good ones, and all the others that can exist. One thing I have tried to do throughout my life, and that I testified of on Sunday was to "Judge not". Sadly we all judge others. I have tried to not do it, but I have many times in my life. Some have had dire consequences. Some I may never know the consequences till after this life. I had this profound thought. The act of judging others and the spreading of gossip is what killed The Son of Man. Think about it, the Scribes and Pharisees spread rumor and slander about the church, and the very Son of God, which in more ways than one led Him to the cross. As it was then, so it will be now. Judging and the spreading of rumors will destroy this great work, and it will be what holds us back from having Zion again on the earth. Even minor things can turn into the gravel that causes us to lose our footing and fall. Are we not all sons and daughters of God? We should all be a little better at not being quick to judge. Life is too precious and souls are indeed at stake. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as thy Father in Heaven is perfect..." We can never get there, in this life, so why sit there and point out the fact that someone else has no hope of getting there, when you are in the same freaking boat! For with what we judge others we will be judged. We know that to be true. I have been far from a perfect example in this, but we are all trying and hopefully all improving. That is what matters. Beams and motes people, beams and motes. I am sure there will be other times when I judge and when we judge someone else. But let’s try and make it less, and try and do our best to make it kind. So yep I have had lots of thoughts about that the last few days. But I do not want to sound preachy or anything so I will wrap up. I love you and I hope this week sees you well and you have a great week.

Love, Elder Paxman
a Juan face [;{D

Monday, June 1, 2015

4 weeks left to serve: Adam Cayo para que los hombres existiesen y los hombes existen para tener gozo.

Dear Mom,

I figured I would write you back in English so you don't have to use google translate, which sucks by the way. My Sunday was good and depressing at moments, overall really good though.

I told him that I had been to a missionary homecoming of an Indiana Elder and ran into one of his companions who is dating a girl he seems to really like. If he gets freaking engaged I am gonna freak the crap out!! That would be crazy!! I do know all three of those sisters, they are very nice as are most of them. That is good you went to support, I am glad you have made friends over my mission...? I think you have made more friends than I have goodness mom.

ANNNNNDDD Of course you go to Ruby River without me. What is up with you guys going out to the good places, but when I am home the girls choose like Leatherby's or freakin Sweet Tomatoes... I feel slightly jipped. hahaha. Nice, summer is nice, although it would be good for you to keep receiving rain. At least till I get home, so I can get back on the bike!! You are also going camping with the fireman... I swear you guys coordinate these things, like so... "Hey Ben comes home in like 29 days, let’s try and fit in everything awesome in that time, that way, we can do all this super cool stuff without him!!" What is up with that!!? Grrrr.....

Trenton will be home in 12 days.  Can you believe how fast time has flown while you are on the mission?  Time is indeed cruising by. 12 days and T-dawg is home... Dang that went by really really fast... I bet his family is super excited! I would be too, and I am sure in 20 days you will be just freaking out all over the place.

How are your investigators?  Did they come to church on Sunday?  How often are you teaching them each week? Lupita and Vicenta are doing well; they are well on their way to baptism. So we are hoping all goes well with that. Daniel is also doing really well. He is really hard to get a hold of, but is doing very well. I hope to see them baptized before I leave, if not, hopefully when I come back. We try and teach them at least 2 times a week. They didn't come to church this last week, but will hopefully be coming to all the rest.

In your English class do you teach mostly speaking or do you teach writing as well? We teach mostly speaking, but also how to write it as well.

I think your Spanish is going to be a blessing to you the rest of your life.  I hope so; I also wish to really improve my language abilities, maybe to become a translator in the future. I really need to work on writing and grammar, it is hard though.

Did you hear about Elder Perry passing away? I did hear, that was sad... I thought we would lose President Packer or Elder Hales before anyone else...

How has your week been? My week has been good, and at the same time, hard. I have really been struggling with being positive as I think about the end of my mission.  It reminds me of something Elder Perry stated... "One of the greatest weaknesses in most of us is our lack of faith in ourselves. One of our common failings is to depreciate our tremendous worth." I do not know if you have realized this, but I have struggled with that for a very long time... always wondering if I have done enough.

Any fun plans for P-Day? Plans for P-day today are well I am not so sure. We have a lesson with Lupita and Vicenta afterwards. We played volleyball with the members last week. That was really fun, I am not amazing at it, but I can hold my own I feel. We will have to get out and practice playing some volleyball when I get back. That would be a good way I can work out and have fun with mommy since you like volleyball! I hope your knees start getting better. I am trying to break the habit of popping my joints. It is one I developed on the mission, and one I hope to get rid of here shortly.

So our adventures of the week, we got dumped on by rain a few times. We also found a new investigator named Rodrigo he seems like a very nice man, and we have a lesson with him tomorrow, so I am really looking forward to that. Other than that, not a ton new on the mission front. I am trying to keep up the workout, but it has gotten hard again. I seem to hit waves of determination. Also I will probably start my anti-biotics here in the next few days, which always comes with its own set of surprises. So yep, last week was good, but a struggle.

So this will kind of be the spiritual thought. This past week my thoughts have been dictated a lot towards a whole shlew of different things. One of which being: "Have I done enough?" I have asked this question before, but sometimes it is hard to see if you have or haven't. Oh before I forget, today was the first day, where emailing was not something I was super stoked for! I think it is because I feel I will be home soon enough, that I can just tell you then. Don't worry though mom, I will keep emailing like I usually do. Anyway, back to where I was. The thoughts have been interesting. One of which was what is the difference between self-confidence, and pride? And how can we develop one and not the other? That has been one I still have not found the answer too. So those are some of the thoughts that are running through my mind lately. I think they are ones often thought about by missionaries. One thing I have realized lately is the power of the Book of Mormon, not only in the lives of investigators, but in the lives of us as missionaries and members. The Book of Mormon is an amazing book; I have read it through cover to cover less times than I can count on one hand, but each time I read, but one verse of its pages the spirit testifies to me of its truthfulness. It can indeed help us in whatever situation we need. It has been a light to me in this last week, when I have struggled to have a positive attitude. The non-positive attitude has not been directed at the work, but at myself and worry for the future. And if one is not happy with himself, than there are very few things in this life that bring him joy. At least so I have found. The Book of Mormon has indeed helped me in that aspect, and it is continuing to help me. I may know very little, along with many other weaknesses and struggles. But there are a few things that I have come to realize, maybe a scripture to help. 
13 Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit;

 14 And their arm shall be my arm, and I will be their shield and their buckler; and I will gird up their loins, and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet; and I will let fall the sword in their behalf, and by the fire of mine indignation will I preserve them.   I used this in a talk I gave this last Sunday. It is in the D&C, but I feel it illustrates my point perfectly. Especially when coupled with this other scripture in the D&C. Who so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God. Wherefore you are my son; these scriptures have really helped me in many different things throughout my mission. Sometimes I think we forget who we really are, I know I do, and that is when things seem to become the hardest. One of my all-time favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon says this Adam Cayo para que los hombres existiesen y los hombres existen para tener gozo. Or Adam fell that men might be and Men are that they might have Joy!! Something I have indeed been working on. The other I will not paste into the email, but if you are ever doubting your worth, or even just feel down, you can read one of my favorite all time verses of scripture... (L told me I say that about every scripture I bring up... Okay so maybe that is true). It is 3 Nephi 11: 3-14 and if you want through till 17. I am learning it seems every day that God and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ care more about the individual than the masses. You hear this said a lot, but I feel it does not mean something to you until you know of it, or at least believe in it yourself. So those are my thoughts. This has gotten a little long I feel. Well I love you so much, I hope you enjoy all the really cool stuff without me. That is okay I would rather be HERE anyway, and I love you and have a great week! I will hopefully hear from you soon!

Love, Elder Paxman 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5 weeks left to serve: A mission visit from Dad!

Elder Paxman got a visit from Dad this past week.  Lincoln was on his way home from a cross country trip to the National Fire Academy and stopped to spend a few hours with Elder Paxman and his companion.  Following are the pictures that he sent me to make me feel jealous.  :) 

Elder Paxman and his companion took his dad to one of his favorite little Taco places for lunch.

Elder Paxman and his companion Elder Labrum.

The study are in their apartment.

Elder Paxman's favorite choice of food this week. 

This dresser has been in the mission in one of the apartments since 1992, and every missionary that has used it has signed it!  I absolutely love this!  The history!!  That means this dresser has been in the Indianapolis Indiana mission and been used by missionaries for 23 Years!!  When the missionary is transferred out of this area/apartment they sign the dresser.  Elder Paxman will sign the dresser in 5 weeks! 

Linc with Elder Paxman and Elder Labrum inside of the Taco place.  It is also a little store. 

Dear Mom,

I knew you would be super Jelly when I found out that dad would be coming to visit on his way home from his trip. It was really fun to have dad come.

In the pictures there is a dresser that missionaries have signed; daddy said you told him there is also a table in one of the other apartments.  Did you sign it as well?  Where is it and did you get a picture?  I think these are the coolest things ever!! I did sign the table although I do not remember if I took a picture... It was in Logansport.. So hopefully I took a picture I think I did. I would have to look through all the photos I have taken. The dresser is super cool! I am excited to sign it and get a picture next to it!

It was really fun to take dad to the taco place! Not to mention yummy!! It has really good tacos. I am glad you enjoyed the pictures. Plus you can just look at the pictures and see if I have gotten a little more in shape! haha Or maybe you can't tell, maybe I puffed out my shirt just to make it look the same... Mwahahahaha evil laugh of awesomeness!!! Or… maybe daddy took pictures of him with things in the way.  I actually think I have gained weight... That's not good! Having Dad visit me in the mission was a fun memory and one we will not soon forget I am sure.

Did your companion mind spending a few hours with Daddy?  Did it bore him? Yes my companion was just as excited as I was, and I loved spending the day with dad. It was awesome! No he wasn't bored; he is just quiet all the time. He enjoyed it though.

I hear Elder Rowberry, Hayden changed his wedding date?!  Yep he did, and I am excited that now I will be able to be there!!!!

What did you do with the rest of your Saturday after Dad left? We went and taught a few lessons, and just did the work.

How has your week been?  How is the missionary work? My week was pretty good I would have to say. We tracted a little so it was all good. The work has been going good; we had a few good lessons. We also helped with the temple prep class which was kind of fun, especially since I never took it haha. We were able to teach Lupita, Vicenta, and Maria which was really good. Also we had a really good lesson with Daniel. I also made a bet with him, so I might need some money on my personal funds... hahaha Anyway....The bet was about going out to eat not actual money, so don’t worry about that mom. So they are doing well, we hope to help them get baptized at the latest the 27th of June. We are still working on finding new investigators and really helping that family progress to baptism within the next month. Church was good, we had a really amazing lesson with Daniel at church so that was awesome!

What percentage of Sacrament meeting do you think you understand?  I got this question from Griff… he was asking Trenton the same question this week. Spanish Sacrament meetings I say I understand about 99% Of what is being said, general conversation more like 90% sometimes there are still a few words I do not know. Actually there are a lot of words I do not know.

Here at home Brooklyn is gearing up for her 9th grade Lagoon Day and we were remembering the last time we went what a big chicken Elder Paxman was on the scary rides.  In his defense it was quite a while ago.  I reminded him of how funny it was.   Yea I am sure you all got a good laugh out of that. Talk about humiliating... I am kind of a pansy mom, if you have not realized. I still am one too. Maybe if I watch some more Grimm and Supernatural when I get home I will do alright, who knows, my guess is no. I have not been to Lagoon after that event, man I was a freaking chicken... I still am, but not that bad thank goodness. Plus what is the purpose of scaring the crap out of yourself? I heard it is like drugs for some people. They need that adrenaline rush, and their body loves it so it wants more. Hence addictions to scary movies. I would like to stay free of that one if I could hahaha.

You mentioned you teach a weekly English class?  What day do you teach it?  Is it mostly members and how many people usually come? We usually have the class Fridays and it depends usually around 6 people. Not a ton, but enough. Most are members, but there are a few that are not. There is not much more to tell you about the class.

How was P-Day/Memorial Day?  Did you do anything with the members or investigators?  For Memorial Day we played sports with a bunch of members and Lupita and Daniel were there, which by the way, at 2 man volleyball Daniel and I being on a team destroyed everyone!! It was awesome!! We make a good team, it was really fun. After that we went and had a BBQ with most of the same members that came and played sports. It was really fun. We got Lupita to play wall ball with us. Which I realized is like a white kid’s street game. No one knows how to play it!! Which is sad because I love it! I have also reached one other goal that I will not tell you about, because it has to do with secret stuff hehehe. So this last week was really good, and the Memorial Day activities were really fun. Okay so yep we are really working with that family to come to a knowledge and be baptized, I want it to be before I go home, but if it must needs be till after as long as it happens. I learned a lesson similar to that one, with another family. It was a great lesson on Humility, but If the Lord will's it, I would love to be here for their baptism.

Okay so now on to the spiritual thought. This actually came up two weeks ago, and I wrote it down to write about this week, and it was a nice coincidence that it fell on the week dad would come visit. So I was reading and pondering one day and with the help of my Pat. Blessing and a few scriptures I realized a few things I thought were cool. One is the immense love that God has for each one of us. Which is pretty frankly stated so I won't elaborate. The next was of my own thinking. As missionaries we are always asked "Why can't you talk with your family over the phone? Why can't you see them more?" I came to this conclusion. One of the big reasons I think is so that we may have at least a sliver a mere speck of what it will feel like when and if we return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Imagine the sweet joy of going back into our Heavenly Parents presence. The joy we feel after being reunited with our families after two years must be similar, just not quite as glorious.  Also in an interview I had with the Stake Pres. He said, If we live to be like 75 I think it is approximately 2.2 years Heaven's time. So just about the amount of time we are on our missions!! I thought that was pretty cool! When we reunite with our families again after that period of time, we feel a piece of the Joy that we will feel with our Heavenly Father when we return home. I thought that was a pretty cool thought. The other is how much the mission resembles our own lives and the way we learn and grow. We come in not knowing hardly anything, but through the things we suffer and experience we learn. We continue to grow and progress throughout this life, we continue to fight for things we want, and make mistakes. In my eyes with the purpose that when we come back, we will be thoroughly converted, much like we do when we come to this earth. So in reality the mission is like a little life we have that plays with our entire life and journey along the pathway to eternity! I thought that was pretty cool. Mission is the preparation ground for life we have heard, but in all likeliness it is like a little model of our life in many aspects. We are called and serve with people we are supposed to meet, families, companions, friends, Investigators and members. Things we are in need of learning, and obstacles to make us grow. I think anyone who has been on a mission has felt this. As well as those who have seen an Elder or Sister come home a different person then when he or she left. As we left our Heavenly Fathers presence we were yet learning and young, and when we get here we are put to the test and grow substantially. Then we are called back home, and receive an “interview" of all we have done with our time. Then we receive all the blessings we have worked for and maybe not all at once. For there is "Eternal Progression in The Celestial Kingdom of God". Of course they are not exact mirror images, but a very close analogy. So when dad came to visit it was like my own little glimpse into heaven as the apostles and prophets have experienced. When we have Calls and Skypes home, and the fervent prayers that on occasion grant such miraculous experiences. Also the weekly emails or the daily prayers and conversations we have with our Father in Heaven.  There are many more that I have thought about, so I could go one forever, but I won't. This was kind of a cool thought I had for the week. Anyway I love you so much and hope you have a great week! I look forward to hearing from you next week!

Love, Elder Paxman