Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas in Lulea with the Wirtala Family!

Sister Wirtala, from Lulea sent a sweet note thanking Aldste Maxwell for his service in their branch and included some fun photos.

Last Zone Conference!

Last Zone Conference - one of the iPads is Austin and his companion!
The days really have been flying by and we just don't have much time!  It is really crazy, this week really has just flown by! I got to go and visit most of our investigators and say goodbye to them all, as well as just being able to do one last week of good work. As usual, there were ups and downs. We had really hard times with one investigator, and then it turned around and became very good in the end! I hope that all will continue well with the incoming missionary and the future here in Luleå.

Now, a story to scare Mom!   This last Friday was zone conference in Stockholm... we were to fly down Friday morning at about 6.30, and returning late that evening.   When we woke up on Friday, (that was about 4:30 by the way) we look out the window and it was snowing like crazy!   The plows were working hard to clear the roads and major paths, they were doing pretty well, but it just was not possible to keep up with the snow!  (Plus it was really windy, and you know how that is with wind and snow!)  Anyways, we get all ready and go out to our car, dig it out of the snow, and get going! We made it to the airport... all but one of the machines were broken, so we had to wait in line... then we had to wait for security, and by the time I got up to the gates, they were making last calls!   My companion, a bit slower, was still down by security... I think he was trying to put his belt on... so I ran for the plane!   (After yelling at him to hurry of course!)   All in all, we got on the plane no problems. The plane began pulling out after all the passengers were seated, and we pulled out!   We went to a spot on the tarmac, and just waited... I was thinking, yep!   Too bad to take off!   But then I saw a truck drive up with some sort of crane on top of it!   It looked really funny... and then it started spraying the plane! It was like a car wash, but to get off all the snow and ice!   When that was all done, we went back and started waiting for permission to take of... we waited another 45 minutes, and then the pilot comes on... in Swedish she said that the snow and wind was too much for us to take off... in English she told everyone that the brakes were not working well enough (slippery runway) but that they were going to sweep the runway again, do a test, and we should take off soon... to make the story short, after sitting on the plane for two and a half hours, they pull back into the gate and let off anyone who wanted to stop waiting.... half an hour later, they tell everyone to get off and go have some fika at the restaurant... (they gave us about 100 crowns each to buy stuff with...) after getting our fika (about 10:30) the plane still had no estimated take-off time... so we left, and told the APs that we would have to be skyped in for the rest of conference, they had started at 10.00. And so the plane never left from what I know! (at least not within 5 hours of scheduled departure! ) and I gave my departing testimony from Sister Newell's iPad... Zone conference was not what I was hoping... not for me anyways! I was sad we missed it!

Anyways, I am sure you are terrified now that I am not going to be able to make it home! No, we took care of the problems here! ( all other airports and planes are flying fine!) I called the Elder in charge of transportation, and he has since got me on an earlier plane (Sunday night) down to Stockholm, with time and back-up options to get me there if needed. And so, I will arrive home as scheduled. And I can't wait to see you all!

I really have enjoyed my time as a missionary, and the time I have had to focus on the Lord. It really has been the best! I love the closeness to the spirit and the knowledge that as I work in the vineyard, the Master will work by my side. I have truly felt that in my work and in my time! I hope that I can have further opportunity in the future to also be able to focus on the Lord's kingdom like this. I love being a missionary, I love the work and I truly love the Swedish people! Back home, have a great weekend. Keep your prayers for the planes so there is not so much stress! I love you all and will see you soon!

Äldste Maxwell

Monday, December 10, 2012

Missions and going home...

I really am excited with all that is happening here in the mission and area!  It is so good to see the changes that are happening, and the people that are being blessed.  I hope that as I serve, I will be able to fulfill all that I am supposed to, for the time is truly very short now.  I just hope that I will truly hold on until the end... 

I know that I have changed, and I know that the changes I have made are good, and that I need to keep them with me.  I just have to find the real-life applications for the mission-life growth.  I will do what I can to understand and to apply all that I have learned and  also to keep the strengths and talents I have gained.    In more ways than I thought, I am really just a bit nervous for the future and what is going to happen, because I don't know!  I feel like there is so much I want to do, but am wondering if it is really possible to do it all?  

I am getting excited! And nervous a bit.. it is weird!

I should be writing once more before I die... it might be this Saturday however, as that may be the day I will have to get all my packing done and such... an early p-day, a last Sunday, and I die!  We really only have three more days of work, we will be flying into Stockholm on Friday for zone conference, and then the rest is saying bye to people, packing, and getting back to Stockholm and all the stuff we will do with President Newell and Sister Newell before we leave.  

I have to say, I am getting excited!   And nervous a bit.. it is weird!
This week here we have gotten a ton of snow... well, here in Luleå we started getting snow two days ago... but it was really cold before that (up to -23.5 Celsius)  that is cold!  Now we just have a ton of snow, and about -5 weather... Saturday was really nice, we were going to play some basketball with some friends (People we want to start teaching) and we went out in shorts and hoodies... at -5!  Some kids told us we can't be out like that... we were just feeling really warm, and going to be inside soon... so it didn't matter!  

Oh, last week I also got rear-ended by someone... Luleå is just not the place to drive!  No, it is really safe, just that corner was a terrible place to put a crosswalk.  No-one is hurt, all is well, and I was not to blame... plus, we got a name, number and address out of it!
Yesterday I got to give a talk in sacrament meeting... I gave it right after two other senior missionaries gave their testimonies.. they both got to have translation for their talks into Swedish... so when I got up, I asked for it too!  Everyone just laughed.   I thought it was funny... , I talked about some of my experiences as a missionary and the talk that Elder Nelson gave in general conference.. ask the missionaries, they can help you!  It was a really good conference talk, and I felt as though my talk was alright... it was basically my goodbye to Sweden talk... it was kind of sad... I am not sure I want to leave! But, I know that as we do what we can, that the Lord will take all of our efforts and make them into miracles.  We will not always be perfect, but we will feel good with the work we have done, and proud of all we have accomplished with His help!  I love being a missionary.  It is truly the best time ever!  I know that this church is true, and that I have become the person I am today because of this church.  I love it! 

I love you all, and hope that you have a great week! Be safe, and I will see you soon! 

Äldste Maxwell

Monday, December 3, 2012

I am hoping to see reindeer!

We are trying to hurry today, we want to visit the arctic circle...  I'll get pics!    I am also hoping to see reindeer and to visit some Sami people... it should be fun!

 It is always fun serving, right?  Think if we were friends with everyone, the world would truly be great! For instance, today we were going to a less active, to go have lunch with him. As we pulled into his parking lot, there was an old Swedish man who waved us over. He needed help getting his car started. We pulled over, and tried to jump the car, no luck... it was completely dead! So, we push started him! (We had the less active help us!) After the car was started, he asked us what we wanted for the service... what, do we have to be payed!? No, we told him is cost nothing. he was very grateful.... and it just feels really good! 

Recently I read section 18 of the D&C for a spiritual thought, and I remember really being impressed by the promises and blessings that are in those chapters! It was amazing! I know that there is a lot of power that we have access to through our faith. As we focus on doing the will of the Lord, He will help us achieve the impossible, and confound the wise. We will work by the will and laws of God, not by the laws or time of Man. God knows, He loves, and He wants to help us. Pray to Him, He will let you know. I love being a missionary, I love serving others.
Have a great week everyone! You are all awesome!   (See you in 15!)
Love ya!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, November 26, 2012

It is quite the experience!

We have been having warm weather so far this November... way too warm! I have heard though that this December is going to compensate for it!   It just barely started snowing a little again this morning. Last week we had a wedding on Thursday... it was really nice, and fun.  We did get some pie on Saturday as a late Thanksgiving... it was good, and our members here take care of us! 

Yes, our days here are very short... basically over before we really get started! Especially with clouds... it is just dark all day! It is really interesting... and it can play some mean tricks with your mind! Just imagine sitting and eating a nice warm dinner, anticipating going to bed, and then you realize it is just lunch, you still have to go out and work!   It is quite the experience!

This week has been really good. We have a good pool of investigators, and we have had a lot of good work done! I got my new companion, he is really fun, and really cool. Plus, his Swedish is very good... he is able to help in the teaching and I do not have to translate to English! I am excited. These next couple weeks are going to be amazing!
The thought for this week is that when you work hard,  when you do your best,  when you have faith that there will be progress, it will happen! It will come from seemingly nowhere sometimes, there will be blessings falling from... well, who knows? God does. Not me! It is incredible to see and to experience. I love being a missionary and getting to learn the lesson that: we do not know! God does not work as we work, His ways are not our ways, they may very well not make any sense to us as people, but it does to Him, and they are as they should be! We just get to take part! I am always amazed by the knowledge, foresight, and pure love of our Heavenly Father. I know He loves me, and I know that He loves these people. I also know that it is not something only missionaries can learn! Go, do what you can! Every person has different talents and abilities! Use them! And you will see many people blessed, many will come unto Christ, and we will find true Joy! Missionary work is the best work around, I love being a missionary! I know the church is true, and I know that it is the only way we will find happiness in this life!

Love you all! Have a great week!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, November 19, 2012

I am thankful for...

 We are having transfers this week!  I will be staying here in Luleå!  I get to ''freeze to death'' in the North! (A note of clarification: when a missionary finishes their mission, it is affectionately refered to as dying) I am super excited!  I will be getting a Britt as my companion now.  Elder Tomlinson!  This is going to be fun!

This week,  in our ward, we had the primary program.  It was really incredible!  There are about 15 children in the primary here... (a lot for the 55 member ward! ) They did incredibly well, and I really felt the spirit! Plus, there were the really young children giving talks, bearing testimony, and singing!  I loved it! 

I really don't know what language I am dreaming in anymore... I think it is  a blending of all the languages that I use... oh! I started learning Persian too!  =P  I found that with the Book of Mormon, I can use the names and teach myself the alphabet... and from there I just have to have one of my investigators help me with the other letters, and then some of the basic root words and conjugations... then I can get the rest!  =P  But, that comes on the side, for fun... before bed and such, the rest of the time I read in Swedish or French!

The week of Thanksgiving!  It is going to be a good week!  I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to be here as a missionary and serve others around me here in the beautiful land of Sweden.  I speak of Sweden for I am here, and I know personally that the Lord has great hopes for this people. I know as well that other countries are also important... but I am a little biased... =P.  I love Sweden and its people.  They are kind, and generous. They like to help others when they can.  They are an incredibly honest people.  I am truly grateful to be here and to learn from them.  I hope that the blessings of heaven may fall upon this people as they open their hearts and embrace the gospel of Christ.  I am grateful for my Savior and the sacrifice He offered that I may be free from my sins, that I can be forgiven!  I am thankful for my parents and the examples they have been for me.  I am thankful for my siblings, they are my best friends.  I am thankful for all of my friends, for their good influences on me, and their examples.  I really needed them, and I am here because a lot of them believed in me.  I am thankful for my Father in Heaven, that He has given me so very much.  I am thankful for this world and the miraculous opportunities it gives each and everyone of us!  There are so many things to be grateful for!  Find them, name them, and thank God for them in prayer.  As we do so, we will find greater joy in life, and a greater willingness to share.  I know the gospel is true, I love being a missionary.  

Have a great week!
Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell