Monday, December 26, 2011

Shine Bright!

It was great to see all of you too! I loved talking with you, and I think Skype was a great Idea! Though... a little better image would have been really nice! I will not complain though! I loved seeing you all and talking with you.

I am looking forward to getting out the Yikers! game and giving it a try, it looks like a good challenge and thinking game! It is good to take a little break, as they said in the MTC, we are to loosen up every night, but we should not unwind (be crazy).

So, at zone conference, I was talking to the missionaries there, and I started talking with one of the new Elders, and he knew me! He told me that when he got his mission call, that he looked up Sweden and such and found my blog! I was super excited, especially since he said that it made him excited to serve in Sweden! That made my day!

As well as being with other missionaries, learning from others and from the Holy Ghost! Zone conference was just a good, fun, spiritual day! I was talking with Elder Stoddard and we figured out that he was actually in our ward in Beacon Hill for a year! He was likely even in our class! I have a shadow of a memory, it is weird... so, a lot of new friends, and good times.

I love the spirit, it works in so many ways and is different for every person. Now, I don't want to be all cliche, but the eyes really are the window in to people, you can see joy, peace, worry, sorrow, light, darkness, and more just by looking someone in the eyes. Why, who knows... but I know that it works, I have seen it, and feel that it is right. I was able to give president a handshake and wish him a Merry Christmas, and looked at him and he shone! It was incredible, but He also looked in mine and I hope that he can see the same joy, and peace in me. I love the feeling of love and support that he gives me, I am glad that I don't have to be alone in the work. As it says in the district. ''There are seen and unseen forces working'' and that it is our job to do our best to be working to the same goal.

I love missionary work, it is the best work in the world, and the best opportunity we have to show our light! Shine bright, show the world your joy, share it! I love being a missionary! I love you all, have a great week, and a happy New Year!

Love ya!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, December 19, 2011

Looking forward to Christmas Eve!

I am a little short on time today, we are e-mailing from the library computers and they allot us an hour that we are able to use the internet. I am down to 36 minutes! So...

I am looking forward to Christmas eve this year... that is when all of the partying is going to be happening!! ! Though I have to say the best part of the whole weekend will be the call home! Can't wait to talk to you all! Hopefully all will go well before then! I have an exciting week planned!

We have no snow here either though I am still holding out the hope that we will get some snow before Christmas! It would be really weird to have no snow for Christmas and be in Sweden,what is up with that? haha....

It is great being a missionary this time of year, with a message of the Love of God, in that He sent His Only Begotten here to the earth to live as we live, to show us the way, and to provide us a way that we are able to overcome our sins! That is the greatest gift, the gift of life eternal. Life with our families, life with God. Life that is perfect and in which we will be perfectly happy for all eternity. All we have to do is accept the gift that has been given, to enjoy it! As a missionary I get to teach people about the gift they don't even know they have been given, to show them how to use it, and watch as they experience the wonders which it contains.

I know that Christ lives,that He came to this earth to suffer and die, to show me how I can myself come back to him, to be better in every way. I know the church is true. I know that it is a blessing to everyone that accepts it! I love being able to help others to see that!

I love you all! Thank you for your prayers and support!Talk to you soon!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, December 12, 2011

New Companion, New Area - and Loving it!

I was introduced as the new Elder in sacrament meeting as well as the Christmas party that they had last night. I did bear my testimony in sacrament meeting... at the end of the talk I gave! First week in the branch and I am giving a talk! Yes, they do speak a new dialect... skånish. It is basically the southern drawl of Sweden. It is not too different, though they do sound funny and have a couple words that are a little different... I have done well so-far understanding everyone! After my talk I was told that I made no grammatical mistakes by two ladies. By an older man I was told that I needed to be more lively... he also told me that I was a ''mothers best dream'' and that what I said came from the heart, but to be even better (unstoppable) I needed to work on my speech skills! So, that was exciting!

So, I am a co-senior companion. Elder Gygi was in my MTC group, he comes from Cotton Wood Heights (Sandy) Utah. Um... played soccer in the US, and has two brothers and an older sister I believe... so, yeah! He is cool, looking forward to a lot of hard work together! He has no problems speaking Swedish, so we have been speaking Swedish almost the whole time! It is great! Week went well, allt är bra hit tills! And I am not sick! Yes, I am starting to feel old... especially as a missionary. It is weird... My trainer is going home in about three months, and my other companions will all be gone about the same time! It is weird.

My new area is really cool. I am already starting to love the way that they talk here... it is so different. If is funny, I just love it! Maybe you can you-tube it or something... Swedish vs skånish... I bet you would find something funny! Anyways, I love it, the people here are really nice, I already feel like I am becoming a part of the ward, though they are also very very different from the others. I have had 2 people now though say that they recognized me... in two different areas, that I am sure I never met before! It is cool, but weird. The area is ready to be harvested, the field is white, and now the workers are ready to get in and work!!! It is going to be a really exciting time here... I just feel that people here are ready, that there are people here that I need to help, who are waiting, and that I can and will find!

Like I said I am ready to work... A mission is training, in all reality, for life and continued missionary work. I feel like I have a good enough grasp on the work now to really start to work, that it is going to be awesome! I am just excited!! I am working on getting to know the members and all of the investigators, but also working on opening my mouth always, to talk to people, and help them find the light! I love being able to see my growth and their growth. All progressing together in this life towards our goal in the life to come! This work is the best work ever, it is full of blessings, and the fruits are rich. I love being a missionary!

I love you all! Have a great week, and I hope to hear from you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, December 5, 2011

PS - I'm Being Transfered!

Isn't it crazy that a year has already passed? It has been nothing! I have no idea where all of the time went, but I might want some of it back.... we will see, we are changing a lot in the mission, how we work, what we say, where our focus is. As President Causeé said, we have great potential, but we need to ''raise the bar''! It was sick! I love being chastised, torn apart, and inspired! Sometimes it is hard, I just want to start running, or to sit in the hot-tub, lift some real weights... get a hug from Mom, play with Ian, you know! But, it is as you said... a blessing and is full of purpose! I want to be a missionary! I want to teach, I want to help people find the light! It is the best ever! When we give, we are given soo much in return!

I try to keep my apartment relatively clean... it does need to be cleaned right now, I will admit that, but I will let that wait a couple days... it is about to get a lot worse!!! haha! Yes, I have opened my Dec. 1st packet, and I have the other two waiting!!! I scribbled out the green sticker (custom form) so I can't read it. So, now I get to wait to open it!!! Elder Kundis hates waiting... it drives him crazy! Haha, so it was funny telling him I got two more packages that I won't open. And now he won't even know what is in them! Ever! maybe... unless he calls on Christmas or something like that. I have yet to set up the tree, which is a good thing, I will wait until Thursday or sometime this weekend to set it up after getting settled in! I am excited to see what it looks like set up, and to try the eggnog recipe inside it!

This is something that I have really appreciated on my mission... I have had to think about the why and how. I mean, the church is part of my life... it IS my life.. why is it something that is so important to others, why would they want it? Thoughts like that are not too often thought before the mission. I at least never really thought about the gospel like that. I hope that was not a bad thing, but coming on the mission has really opened my eyes. I didn't really understand the gospel, I didn't know what I was living, or who I really was. I love being able to see, to have an open perspective without the distractions of the world to sit and think through my own beliefs, my feelings, and my experiences with the gospel so I am able to share them with others! Of course, I can not do it on my own, when I try to teach nothing goes the way that it should. I am just glad that I have the spirit to lead me, to put words in my mouth and help me find the elect! I love being a missionary, I am still learning every day, and loving the experience that it gives. Both spiritually and otherwise! I hope and pray that as I continue to work, that I will be strengthened and blessed to see the fulfillment of the promises for this land of Sweden. I want to be a part of the Second Harvest, the promised gathering here in Sweden of the Swedish folk. It will happen, the only question is, will I be a part of it? The best part is... I get to decide! Do I give my all? Do I focus on the message? What more can I do? I want to, now I just have to get out there and do it! It is a question I guess everyone has to ask themselves... what am I willing to give? I know that this church is true, the gospel works miracles in peoples lives every day. I love being a missionary and serving the people!

I love the work!Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

PS. I am being transferred this week! Haha, I will be going to Kristianstad (Christian City) and serving with Elder Gygi from my MTC group. It is going to be awesome, I get to learn Skånish, and it is going to be incredible!!! I don't know too much about the area... it is a branch, though nearly a ward supposedly. I am looking forward to it and hope that all goes well! I will let you know about it next week when I learn a little more! haha... I am getting on a train Wednesday kl 9.00 and ride down to Kristianstad to meet my new companion! That is actually interesting, with President Newel, we are allowed to travel alone, so I will be going solo for a couple hours! Scary, but pretty cool. Oh, and I got my grey card with SJ (The travel company for Sweden) so I get free hot chocolate on every SJ train from the Bistro!!! Cool, huh? Well, I have a lot of packing and cleaning, as well as appointments, teaches, and such before I go!!! I hope that you all have a great time! You are all incredible! I love you! Ha det bra!

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Note About Dryer Hugs

At our house we give dryer hugs. (It is a wonderful tradition, not sure how it got started but we all love it.) When a batch of laundry with towels is done drying, I yell out, "Who wants a dryer hug?" and they come running, big and small. A fresh, warm towel is then wrapped around their shoulders with a hug. It is a delightful tradition that I highly recommend to everyone!

When Austin was in the MTC, he discovered that he could give himself a dryer hug on P-day and it helped him feel closer to home.

Well, on Monday morning, I dreamed that I gave Austin a dryer hug. I have been missing him and just wanting to be able to give him a hug so it was a very sweet dream. Since it was email day, I quickly sent him an email to let him know that I had sent him a dryer hug.

Here is Austin's response: hey, funny story... This morning as I finished my laundry, I got my dryer hug from you! It was probably the very moment that you dreamed it as well!!! So, thank you! I remember getting out the towel, wrapping it around me and saying, "thanks, Mom", in my head! I loved it, I am never far from home! So, thank you again for the hug!

I am so thankful I got to hug my missionary!

A Very Happy Thanksgiving!

I had a great Thanksgiving. I didn't get homesick... though I did miss you all! As said we went to a members house and had dinner there, and pies!!! It was really good. Though me and my companion were the only ones that ate pie! We now have three pies in our fridge... and more on the way supposedly... =P I also got to help do dishes!!!! That was fun! haha, It felt good to serve, and to talk to the member, I think she appreciated it. Her kids don't seem to listen right away... though I guess that is very normal... At least, from what I remember! You could definitely tell me if it were otherwise!

I got a dryer hug this morning! Thanks Mom! You should get one too! You can even say it was from me! lol!!! I love you Mom! (I promise that I had already written this! =P Love you!)

It is very scary to think and see how many thing really are mind numbing... for me I would have to say that taking a shower is mind numbing and that I waste a lot of time there! As you remember! It is just weird... time disappears. I am personally working on that as well as other traits or habits that are of no benefit but waste the precious time that I do have.... especially as a missionary, but also after... I don't want to be the same after my mission as I was before I left, I want to be better!!! Satisfaction is also a very trying and convincing enemy... I have never yet done my best, and all I do should be helping me to get there!!!

I love being a missionary!!! It is the best being able to wake up, study the scriptures and take time to organize everything for the day, then go out and work. Work for others. It is a work of love and faith. As we develop love, we enjoy the work, and find success in places where others might only find cold rejection. Faith is the principle of action on the unknown possibilities and principles. Who knows if the next person who happens to be walking down the street has questions about this life? Do you get to decide that for him? These are our brothers and sisters! They are My brothers and sisters! Should I not reach out and try to lift each and every one of them? I have a light, I can share my light, I can show my light, and when I give light to others they too will have light, and mine will grow! It is the best, to see the light in someone else's face, to see the change, the glow! Oh how wonderful to see the redeeming love at work in the lives of others, and feel its influence in me! I am a servant, yet I have been served much much more than ever I have done.

In the service we grow. In the journey, we find out who we are. In the end, who knows who you will be? I want to be the best I can, and follow in his steps, that when I fall, weak as I am, He is there to catch me! I LOVE being able to proclaim this glad message, to spread the light to the world. I learn from my older brother, I seek to be like Him. I know that He is the only way, my path and light. I know this and am glad to share it with everyone that will listen. The church is true. It is the light in this dark and dreary wilderness that the world has become. This I know, in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all! Thank you for your support, your love and prayers.

Have a great week!

Austin/ Äldste Maxwell

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Quick Note!

Well, Good Morning Everyone!

Sorry, I have to admit that again I have almost no time!! Can you believe it?!? Anyways, we are heading to Gubbängen this morning for a missionary turkey bowl and thanksgiving party... So, we have to be on a train in about 15 minutes... haha... so, sorry if this ends up a little short!

First, Jonathan. Congratulations!!!! I am soo excited that you got the priesthood, how does it feel? And, you look incredible in the Suit and tie! I really like the tie, it is awesome! Take care of it and you might be able to take it with you on your mission!!

It sounds like everyone has had an incredible week! I am glad that you are all doing so well! This week personally has been slow... we have done a lot of tracting, and none of it really paid off this week, too bad... But, the upcoming week is going to be incredible! We have Zons Konferens, and Elder Causeé is coming from the area presidency.

We are celebrating thanksgiving with the member family on Saturday, and everything else this week should hopefully be filled up with teaching, finding, and preparing all of our investigators for baptism. We will most likely all be here until January, though President can change people whenever he feels like it, so we will see!!! Well... Sorry. This is really really short this week.

I love you all and am sooo grateful for you!!

Äldste Maxwell

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nothing too exciting...!

This is all I have time for today, sorry!

Nothing too exciting has happened recently. This morning I stole my bike. That was interesting... Yesterday it was not where I had left it in front of the travel center. So, we looked around a little bit and found it locked to another bicycle on the other side of the buses! So, I did what I could to make sure that they (whoever moved and locked my bike with another) did not take it. I then returned home for the night. This morning, I went out and had to cut the lock off my bike so I could take it back home and put it away for the winter! So, I stole a bike, my bike, this morning. Hopefully I will be forgiven for that. I would not steal it back if they would not have taken it in the first place!

On a more missionary note... this week has been good. We have been doing a lot of tracting and contacting. As we teach and help our investigators to progress, we continue to try and find more who will listen to the message we have to share with them! As tracting goes, usually it does not have too much positive effect on the work, but as we were out knocking doors and using the Book of Mormon to begin talking to people, we found more people who would talk, and we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon, and answer questions that they had. Several invited us to come back a day or two later, some of which were also not there when we returned, but that is the work. Even tonight we have an appointment to go and talk to one of them we talked to. He was quite interested to learn about the Book of Mormon and I am excited to talk to him and begin teaching.

The Lord know us as missionaries, He know the people that we need to teach. As we are ready and prepared to teach, when we have become what we need to be, we will find those who are ready and as we teach we will be led and strengthened to be able to best help these children, our brothers and sisters, to come back to our Father who loves us so very, very much. I know that people are being prepared everywhere. I know that I am being prepared and I know that when I am ready, I will be given the strength to fulfill my call, to be the missionary that I am meant to be. Daily opportunities are presented to learn and to grow, to be better and better. I know the Lord lives, that He loves me and that He is my strength. I love being a missionary. I love the work. I love you all and hope that your weeks are incredible and filled with the love of our Father who is in Heaven.

Aldste Maxwell

Monday, November 7, 2011

Finally! The whole story!

Ha Ha, yeah, I know... mean Austin. He knows just how to build the suspense and leave it at that! Okay, so... how are we blessed so we are not confounded by others? (one of my favorite experiences so far!)

As most of the best stories begin, we were out knocking on doors! This was no different than any other day, it was Sunday, after church and we had just been fed (a miracle of how God provides) by a less active member that we visited. Well, we were just going around in Ryd, knocking on doors. We had quite a bit of time and no more appointments that day so we were looking forward to some good tracting time. We got the usual, "Not interested!" - slam! and all of that, but as usual, continued on in our hopeful manner, seeking out the prepared.

Then, it started with a door. Just like the others we had knocked on. The door opened, and I started talking, but the boy who answered (19-ish?) just turned and said, "It's for you", to someone else. His mother came to the door. She had talked with previous missionaries and decided that she did not want to talk, but I, being curious, asked some more questions. She didn't see any reason for the Book of Mormon and no area in the Bible where there would even be evidence there could be one. I patiently tried to answer her questions and help her to understand but to no avail. I bore my testimony, encouraged her to read in the Book before she judged it and left her with our contact information if she wanted to talk any time later. I was sad she didn't listen, but felt food because I had borne witness and I had felt the confirmation of it's truthfulness and her need for that.

But, as you are probably thinking... that has nothing to do with being confounded! No, it does not. But, it was how I gained a greater portion of the spirit that day, so I would have it with me when I really needed it.

We continued to tract. After a little while, it was again my door. As usual, I knocked and wondered who would be next to open the door! As my luck goes, it was a couple who had just gotten home from church, some Jehovah's Witnesses. (I know, I heard and saw my companion just give up right there, and I was really tempted.) But, I decided to follow the spirits promptings and began by talking about the Book of Mormon. He said he had heard about it, but had never read it. I talked about it a little and testified. He decided to change the subject a little by asking about Revelations 22:18-19 (18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.) He was trying to use that scripture to prove that the Book of Mormon was wrong. I stunned him by agreeing with what the verse said and then continued by teaching and explaining what that verse meant, that at the time it was written, there was no such thing as the Bible, and only the revelation of John. As I explained, I made sure to listen to the promptings I received, and patiently, lovingly, answer and open the scriptures to this man. He saw the truth in what I said and changed subjects. "What is God's name?" Typical question, and one they use to prove Jehovah. I again opened the scriptures and explained through verses that he would open to and read. He would always try to prove me wrong, but as I opened his eyes with other verses, his arguments fell to pieces, one after the other... I was blessed with the revelation I needed to withstand his attacks, and teach truth. As said in scripture, we will not be confounded before men.

He was unable to say anything against the church, and at the end had to just flat out refuse to want more. He got angry as I offered to give him the Book of Mormon, he was happy with what he had and wanted no more. I know I was blessed, I know that God will bless and strengthen His servants. I cannot tell you how many buses have been delayed so we were able to leave a quick message, and still get our bus. God knows, He loves and He leads us to everything that we will need to succeed. (Oh, and one of the best parts was that everything was in Swedish!!!) I have been given so much!

The mission is great. We have a goal as a mission to get 60 baptisms before Christmas. And, it can happen! We have good investigators who will hopefully continue to progress and have found what they need to continue. I love this work. My companion is great, I really enjoy being with him. We started studying from a 201 Swedish verbs book. Now, I have that all down pat, and he does too! Now we get to move on to others that are more difficult and continue our growth! It is really good when working together to achieve the same goals! Personally, I am healthy. I am happy, and I am doing great! The weather here is great, a little chilly at times, but good. The weirdest part is that the sun sets at about 4 pm now...after rising at 8 am! That is interesting and it is weird, I feel "tired" when the sun goes down, but that is only about half the day!

I am doing great, I love being a missionary still and hope that all of you back home know that I love you very much and hope that you all have an incredible time!

Love you!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, October 31, 2011

An Incredible Birthday!

I had an incredible birthday, thank you all very, very much! I can say I felt all the love and good wished that all of you sent me on my birthday. It was a very good day, I had two parties! (And the second one didn't even know it was my birthday!) We had a party at district meeting and another one at a less active members house.

Dan Jordan is going to Denver, Colorado! That is super awesome! I am very excited for him!!!!! It is a beautiful place and a great mission! I am glad that Christian is getting excited to serve as well! It really is an exciting time.

I had an incredible week, sorry this is really rushed. I will just say this.. The Lord blesses His servants and we really will not be confounded before the wise, or before men, He will help us! I will share more next week!

Love you,
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, October 24, 2011

We started the lesson over!

The mission is going great! Just yesterday we had stake conference in Stockholm. We were in a big conference center on the Stockholm University campus. It was really cool. We got to be together with a lot of members an listen to some incredible talks! I really, really enjoyed it. Then, after the conference I got to have a personal interview with President Newell! It was such a good time to sit and listen to him, to ask some questions and to gain insight to myself, what I can do, and to get recharged myself! I love President Newell, he is such a great man and he knows what I need to hear!

We had a couple really, really good teaches this week! I love it when the Lord takes me, my companion and our plans and changes everything while in the teach to be incredible, to be exactly what everyone needs to hear, and to strengthen everyone! One was with Majid, he is really positive and is working toward baptism, so we are continuing to teach all of the lessons. We decided that he needs to learn and follow the Word of Wisdom, that was going to be the hardest of all the commandments for him and so we began to teach it. At first everything was going really, really well. We taught, and read from the great pamphlet the church has, and as we were about 15 min. into the lesson, while he started sipping his tea, he was like, "Wait, you don't drink tea of coffee!?" - at which point we started the lesson over and taught from the beginning. He was really confused, but as we taught the spirit was there, it witnessed to him that we were telling the truth, and that it was right.... to a degree. He said that we live a monk life, and then asked when we were going to send him to a cloister. He likes to joke - I think he was half serious with that one though! The thing is, God blesses us, and the spirit will help with whatever situation we end up in. It is hard to go wrong when God is the one who is teaching, as long as we do not get in the way! I know that we are blessed, that though situations pass, and the spirit will help us solve our problems. God is mindful of every one of His children.

I have not figured out my presents.. I didn't really try. I want to be surprised! I have kept them hidden and out of sight... though, I have to say, I really wanted to open them this morning for some reason! Oh, and please thank everyone for me on the blog! It was good to get so many emails wishing me a happy birthday! I really do appreciate it!

Aldste Maxwell

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Changing!

It is changing colors here, leaves are falling, it is getting really cold really fast and the sun does not stay up very long... though I really doubt that it is a beautiful here as in New York right now. Not that Sweden isn't pretty, it really is! It is just not filled with so many trees that are changing and not at the same time either! It was supposed to be at freezing last night.... I wouldn't know, I was asleep! I do miss a good soup, especially your soups... they were really, really good... I miss having a good kitchen, a good assortment of ingredients and the time to make good food!

Oh, that reminded me! We found Ben and Jerry's on sale and so we got some... I got "Phish Food" just for you!!! I also enjoyed it! Sorry, I don't think it would have worked out too well if I had tried to share....

My week was really good. We had Zone conference on Tuesday, I learned a lot of things that I was able to change in how I do the work and I feel like I am starting to do better every day! It is really cool. I got to go to Stockholm again today for last hurrah at least before the snow comes... then we will play in the snow! Less often and less intense, I am sure! And then, as we were leaving, I got my package! Yea!

Joseph, the ward mission leader, is incredible. He is a really good teacher and understands how to help people understand. I really love being able to teach people with him every once in a while! It is really cool.

"Transfers" died. We do not have official transfer days anymore... so, I can be transfered at any time. There will still be transfers when new missionaries come to the mission, but there are also transfers in between when President Newell feels inspired to move someone. So, new missionaries come about every 9 weeks... usually, I heard that one is coming next week... a Finn. It is super cool...more exciting, though a lot harder to plan for! I have been here for 6 weeks, so we have another three before big changes will happen.

Teaching is great... I had several teaches in Swedish that went incredibly well! I really felt the spirit, was lead in what I should say, and I feel like I was able to touch the hearts of those who I talked to. I am getting better at my fluency and working on my vocabulary and pronunciation every day. I love Swedish, it is a great language. I love being lead to people, and to what I need to say to help people be able to understand the beauty and truthfulness of the plan that our Father in Heaven has for us. I love feeling the spirit bear witness to those that we teach, and seeing them speechless and even in tears because of the spirit that testifies to their very spirit.

I know this is the true church, there is none other. I know that the plan that we have is a guide to happiness in both this life on Earth and in the life to come. Our Father in Heaven loves every single one of us so much and will do all that He can to help! I love teaching, I love learning, I love the Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ and that I can be better because He is willing to take my sins so that I can be clean! I love that! There is nothing more sweet or desirable, as said in the tree of life vision. This I know, and it is what I teach.

I love you all, have a great week!!!

Aldste Maxwell

Monday, October 10, 2011


I can't believe that it is already October and that it is already the second week! That is unfathomable! The time really does fly and i don't think I like it too much right now, I want a little more time here!!!

Everyone is getting sick right now! It is insane, there were about six people who were sick Sunday (and in a small branch that is HUGE!) ... Elder Kundis started getting it a little, i am doing all that I can to avoid it, so yeah. I remember when everyone in the family was getting the stomach flu, that was bad, but I made it through without getting sick! I love grape juice!!!

Jonathan is really growing up fast, i can't really see him passing the sacrament, but at the same time I can! It probably doesn't help that the past two weeks Karl-Arne has passed it here. He is about 90 ... almost blind and deaf. Great guy! Jonathan will do a great job and he is going to be a great geakon. Ha Ha! I am going to miss it!

Since when was I old enough to be turning 20? It is really hard to get my mind around it too! Elder Kundis' b-day is 10 days before mine! I think we are going to have some party as a district! It is going to be great! He is turning 21. He is really old! he he

I love it when we are in the right place at the right time. I love seeing how our Father in heaven really does put people in the places where we are to help us or to help them. Just this morning as I was doing my studies, I began reading in the Liahona, the article that I started reading was a good article but it was incredible for me because it was an answer to my prayers. I had studied earlier in my mission about the topic of the article and voiced my findings but my companion disagreed. I decided to be quiet about it and dried to share it later with another companion, again, not accepted. Then, as I was reading, the general authority said exactly the same thing that I had found in my studies! I am glad that I was able to find my answer, to know that I was correct and not making up false doctrine while I studied.

I am thankful for the Lord's guidance, comfort and love for all his children. I know that it is not important that I was right, but it is good to be reassured that I do know what I am doing when I study, that the answers I find are from my Father in Heaven and that I can know that I am lead by the Spirit to find truth.

I love this work and the opportunity it gives me to expand my knowledge, to grow as a missionary, to become who the Lord wants me to be for the rest of my life! I love being able to listen to the prophets of our day, to seek learning and guidance from God to what I need to be focusing on, and how I need to be improving. I love being able to serve in whatever area I am called, to know that I am needed here and that this is where i am supposed to be right now. I love the knowledge that I have, that I am called to share it with those that are seeking, and to bring them to Christ. I know as Ammon says in Alma 26, that I am nothing. I boast not of myself, but of my God and the mighty power that is His to deliverance of all mankind from the pains and suffering of death and sin. I know the church is true. I know I am doing what I need to right now, and I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!

Love you all!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, October 3, 2011

Absolutely loved Conference!

I have absolutely loved conference. It has really been the boost that I was looking for and full of answers to questions that I have had about what I need to be doing as a missionary, what I am, Who I need to become, and really what is the point? I love how when I listen, many of the talks and subjects become for me. I like how they talk to me and that the Lord, through His spirit can send me personal messages through the general talks. It is absolutely incredible! I do have to say that I missed being home, missed all of the incredible food and the comfortable chairs. It is kind of funny, conference made me a little homesick! (not in a bad way I promise, just really good memories!)

I went on splits with Elder Kundis at the beginning of my mission but I never thought I would be companions with him, I am glad that I am! He is really fun to be with, funny and full of life! It is really funny, almost everyone that I have been companions with I have known from my first transfer in Sweden! So far anyways! We will see how long this pattern can continue. I am excited, as usual, to see what will happen next!

No big stories like last week... We had a bike stolen this week, so most of our travels have been by bus. I was quite sad to see that we are now short one bike, especially since it was the newer of the two bikes that was stolen. (less than 4 months old! The last missionaries here also had a bike stolen.) We are going to get a new bike soon and we will make sure we lock them to something so someone can't come and pick them up and run off with it! They would have to literally pick them up because we do lock them so they can't be ridden or tires stolen off them. But that was not enough! So, extra precautions and fill out the guarantee no-steal paperwork, and we should be good!

We got to teach a less active member this week with some of the members, when we went over, it was us, two active members, a less active, her sambo (boyfriend) and a neighbor non-member who was interested in learning about the church! It was an incredible teach! The members are incredible, the less active taught the neighbor all about Joseph Smith and bore her testimony of him and the Book of Mormon. It was incredible to see how well it all went. I know that the spirit was there leading us and helping us to be able to do the Lord's work and bring people to Christ. We gave the neighbor a Book of Mormon and she was very excited to get it. We are meeting with them all again next week! Oh, and the less active and her non-member boyfriend both came to two sessions of conference. I am excited to continue to teach them. I love being able to teach and to help people to come nearer Christ, their Savior. To learn of his love and the plan he has for each and every one of us.

Det är helt underbart för mig att jag kan komma till Konferens för att lyssna till Guds sann profet jorden idag. Han är verkligen Guds profet och jag vet att de ord som han talar är Guds orden till oss. Vi lever i en värld av mycket prövningar och behöver den tröst som kommer till oss genom Jesu Kristi försoning. Satan vill att vi vara rädd. Han gör allt i hans kraft för att stoppa oss. Den är orsaken att jag är tacksamma att jag får lyssna till profeten. Jag vet att han kan se de saker som vi måste undvika. Han talar till Gud för oss, han vill att vi kan bli lycklig som möjligt, han verkligen älskar var och en av oss. Jag vet att Gud lever, han har en plan för oss att vi kan ta del av hans rike och bo hos honom. Jag är en Guds lilla barn vi alla är Guds barn. Han älskar mig lika han älskar alla sina barn.

Have a great week, I hope that everything goes well! I honestly have no idea how I made it through the second meal last week, but I know that God can and does work miracles every day!

Love you all!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, September 26, 2011

Well fed!

This week I did have several interesting food experiences. First, we went to a member's house for a dinner and she had a huge pot on the table, and a couple more on the counters and such. She had made some chili, rice and boiled eggs and had a ton of bread out so we could make some "sandwiches" (sandwiches are really different in Sweden). The food was really good, and I was full, but then she took my bowl and filled it again! With more than 3 times what she had eaten! It was crazy. Well, I made my way through that, and was ready to roll over and die when she brought out dessert! And, even then she made me take seconds!! I am going to be very honest.... Never, never have I wanted to throw up so bad! But, I kept it in because I wanted to show my companion it was possible.. but that was horrible... I am still (two days later!) not hungry! And of course, later that night we went over to another member's house (2 hours later) and guess what! They were preparing food for us!! I honestly about died.

The next day we went to another members house and I got to have sil! (Pickled herring) and to my utter surprise, actually enjoyed it! And, when I get home, all of you will get to have some too! Oh, and I also had some torr kott (Reindeer jurky) which was also very good!

Last week we played football, it was so much fun! I got to run a lot and it felt so good. I really miss running and all of that, but it will come back! I impressed everyone by chasing down Elder Cluff when everyone else gave up, and he had a 20 yard lead!!! It was great, no one thought that I could run that fast. Surprise!

They do not have any satelite here so we would usually travel to Norrkoping, but instead the branch is having it projected on Sunday (Saturday sessions) from the internet. The rest we will watch when we get some extra time... like p-day and, well, yeah!

I love being able to teach and help people to come closer to Christ! This week we have mostly been with the members and leave them a message and try to get them to help us to find people to teach! It is also starting to work, which is great! I love it when missionary work really happens! I have noticed such a big change in myself since I have gone out on my mission and I can't wait to see what life is like when I get back, how much smarter I can be and what my life is then like! I love being here and being able to help people to grow!

Thank you for all that you do for me and for the great support! I love you all and hope that you all have an incredible week! You are the best! I am doing what I can to be the person that I am supposed to be, to follow the Lords direction and serve with all of my heart! I love the work!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

This week has been amazing!

This week has been amazing, we have been staying very busy and talking to people... It was mostly tracting and contacting, and some teaching, we really want to spend most of the time teaching, but we need investigators to be able to do that, so out we went to find! It is not as nice as teaching, and not as effective as it should be... but we have to find somehow!

Overall, it is going very well. I do have most of the ward members' names down now. We have visited many of them and are continuing to visit and get to know all of the others. It is a lot of fun.

Yesterday we got to go into Primary because they were having a lesson on missionary work. They told us we would be teaching about an hour before... someone forgot to call us! But it went really well, and I am starting to have a lot of little friends again! I got a couple pictures from them after church! One was a picture of missionaries and the other was a picture of Kasper (that is his name) picking plums to share with Jesus! It was adorable!

It is great being able to get to know the mission president and everything that he does. They are incredible people and are really fun to get to know and always have such a great spirit with and around them! I love them too, and all the missionaries, and the work!

Story: Last night as we were tracting again, and going door to door and talking to anyone who would open the door, we were having no success at all. We hadn't had any the whole week! It was getting late and we were just going door to door, knocking, waiting, and moving on to the next, with several uninterested people and a couple nice people who listened but were not interested. And, as the stories usually go... it started to rain! We began another trap (staircase with apartments) and we knocked on a door that looked exactly like all other doors. A man opened it and my first thought was, "oh-no...". He was bigger, looked like he was from the middle east and had a winter vest, beret, shorts and flip-flops on. Plus, he was smoking. As we started to talk, he was really receptive, kind and interested! He let us in, and we began to talk. He asked a lot of good questions, we taught about the Book of Mormon and he wanted one! We set a time to come back later this week and he was super excited! It is cool how things like that happen. It is always the same too, we are tested, then blessed! I am excited to teach him and to find more just like him as well.

Well, I have to go... going to Stockholm for sports!

Love you all, have a great week and keep it up!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Work is Great!

The work is going great! I love serving with Elder Kundis, he is a great guy, and wants to be effective in our work! I have had a great time with him so far. We are beginning to get to know the area really well and we are finding our investigators, teaching and looking forward to baptism here in Linkoping!

Sunday, yesterday, was great. We had Branch Conference and there were about 15 people from the stake who came to talk to us. It was great to have our little chapel filled! I am so excited for the future of this branch! Almost every talk was about making Linkoping a ward, that we are ready, and what we need to be doing to make it happen. The best part was that I have been having the feeling that Linkoping is ready, the Elders before us said that as they were leaving, and the branch president as well as all of the ward leadership is focus on growth! It is incredible!

I am loving Linkoping and loving the branch. I am getting more confident again with my Swedish and trying to not rely too much on my companion. I am trying to become more confident, to continue to learn and to grow. I am excited to be in a smaller branch because i get to know all the members personally and I will get a lot of Swedish practice. I will also get to really take part in the work of finding, teaching and baptizing that is going to be happening!

I am loving being on a bike because I feel healthier and I am getting into better shape. It is also really nice to be out in the fresh air, not stuck on the dirty, worn down buses or waiting at bus stops with all of the smokers, though that was always a good place to start some conversations. Overall, I am having a great time and I am loving the experience and growth. It is so much fun being a missionary!

I love being a missionary and there are so many blessings that come with it! I love studying the scriptures, the meaning that it has now! I know that the scriptures are full of light and knowledge for us. I am learning that many of the deepest and most rich of all doctrines are based in the simple truths, the Atonement, the Love of God, and His Plan for all us us. I know this church is true, I know that my Father in Heaven loves me very much and wants me to be as happy as possible. I want to help others to see that, that is why I am here in Sweden after all!

Aldste Maxwell

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome to Linkoping!

Well, the new area is great so far! It is great to be able to have a change of scenery and people. I am starting to get to know a bit of it, though Elder Kundis and I have a lot more exploring to do before the city will be fully usable. Ha ha! We are both new here, so it is a lot of fun! I can tell you that we have already been blessed - we haven't gotten lost yet! And we are on bikes! I love the bikes, one speed, old and no shocks at all!! It is great, I have really enjoyed the new challenge and opportunity to work out.

I really enjoyed getting to know the branch, though we had to leave right after the closing prayer to get on a train to go to Stockholm for a music concert to sing! It was a crazy day. We got back this afternoon. I did get to get up and introduce myself and bear my testimony at church yesterday. I am still terrified and get nervous when I have to get in front of people! It is hard... the sad part was that this is a small branch again, so there is not the same excuse! There were probably about 20 people yesterday, most of which are older, but there were also a lot of youth in younger families which brought a lot more umph and life into the branch. This week we had a full three hour block, supposedly this was the first week that they have had a full three hour block. Linkoping is bigger than my last areas, by quite a bit, though the branch is smaller. I love the branch and the opportunity this will be to learn and to grow. We get to translate the meeting/class into English for some of the members who are still trying to learn Swedish / only speak English! It is going to be an incredible transfer!

My companion, Elder Kundis, is great. I love Elder Kundis! He was in my district when I arrived in Sweden! Now I get to be his companion and learn from him about the work! I am excited to see and learn more about him. He is from Great Falls, Montana, going to BYU, has a great singing voice, can play piano and guitar both pretty well and is great at Swedish! He is basically just awesome. He is a lot of fun and there never is a boring moment with him around. I will update more as I learn more! Oh, and he has a blog too!

I love the new mission president and the opportunity I have to learn about another person and to learn about the traits and characteristics that he has which I can learn and use to be a better person and missionary! I am excited to be able to see him more, to learn and be diligent!

The new branch and area is incredible! We are working on finding out who our investigators are and who the missionaries were working with. They did not keep any records here since the beginning of this year! It is going to be interesting and a new start almost! It is going to be a lot of work, but at the same time there is a lot that is ready to happen, and in some ways this could be a really, really good turn of events! I just need to roll up my sleeves and get to work!

Have an amazing week, have fun and don't forget to smile!

Love you!
Aldste Maxwell

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I will begin by saying that everything is hectic, I have no time today... and that I will have to reply to everyone next week. I will be pressed to get this letter to you and one off to President. Yes, this week is transfers and, according to precedent, President Newell is changing a lot! Both me and my companion are moving out of Jonkoping and Sisters are coming in to take our place... That means we had to clean the apartment especially well and that was on top of finding out that we no longer have a p-day. We have to be on a train this afternoon at 2 to go to Goteborg to pick up an Elder, to go to Stockholm, to drop off my companion and meet my new one (Elder Kundis) and go down to Linkoping (on Wednesday). I am excited to be with Elder Kundis, he was in my district when I first got here in Sweden.

School has already started here! I hope everyone back home is excited for school to start. Summer is pretty much gone here now. It is starting to cool down really fast and raining a lot more! I am getting pretty lucky though, it seems that every time that we go outside is stops raining! I am trying to be a better missionary, I have learned a lot about what I can and should be doing. This next transfer is going to really be full of change and growth! I am sad to be leaving Jonkoping because it was such a great area and the people are so kind. I loved learning about the people here and getting to know what it is like to be in a big ward. I have heard that the branch in Linkoping is small, but it is going to be like going back to Karlstad, with a bigger city. I am excited to go out and find people and bring them into the church! It is going to be so cool to work together with Elder Kundis and to learn more about loving the people and improve my Swedish. I am sad but excited!

Yesterday, we went to a couple members houses to say goodbye. it was a really sad, but happy time! I am glad that I got to go around and see what missionaries can mean to people in the ward. It really gave me a huge desire to do more in my next ward, to get to know the people, to build relationships with them and get out of my comfort zone! I know I will have a hard time at first, but it will be good for me. I really loved visiting the Rasmusson family, they are one of my favorite families here, there are several that are just amazing! It was a huge surprise, and really cool to see that they really appreciated what we did for them. We joined them for the end of their family home evening, we gave a little lesson, and they brought out some gifts that they had made for us! It was incredible! We got cards from the little girls, Rachel and Lucy, and a card from the family. They also gave us a little teddy bear they had made into a missionary! I decided to send the pictures, it was so cool!

We also had a really exciting teach yesterday, it was a referral from a lady in Helsingborg, she met a lady on the bus, and told us to go talk to her! It was a cool teach, went well. She (Cecilia) called herself a seeker, and was really interested in religion. It was super cool. One part was a little weird, while we taught she asked some interesting questions. I think she is basically a palmist or something, she has "a special connection with spirits and God". It was apparent when she took the Book of Mormon in her hands, closed her eyes and "prayed" to ask if it was true, opened it to a random page, and started reading. I can tell you, I have never prayed so hard! But it worked, she read the final testimony of Abinidi and decided that the book was true. I could tell that she was really impressed with the Book of Mormon, and I hope that the sisters are able to help her to understand our connection with God and the Holy Ghost and bring her into the church. It was the perfect way to leave an area! Now, we have a cleanliness inspection and then a member middag (meal), before catching the train to leave!

Jonkoping will definitely be a place we will have to visit when we come back!

Love you all!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, August 22, 2011

Oh, I Should Introduce My Companion! (transfers are next week)

So, I guess I never did really introduce my companion. Elder Wood comes from Utah, I am pretty sure Kaysville, just outside Farmington. He is a really cool guy. He is a very good singer and from what I have heard, he is also a very good trombonist. He went on a tour with a band through Europe. He has also been to China and many other parts of the world with choirs and bands... So, he is a band kids and likes to sing too! He is going to school at the University of Utah/Utah State, I don't remember which... NOT BYU. Although, he did admit that BYU is a really good school... he just got more money from the other. He is really smart and loves to cook. We have been eating well and I have been relieved of my cooking duties for a while. Elder Wood has been my district leader my whole mission so far. He is a good leader and has only 2 transfers left before he goes home! It is scary, time goes by so fast! He goes home early January... I will be home in less than a year after that! Where does the time go? He is the youngest of his family and doesn't mind being weird! He was in student body leadership in high school and was really good at making fun of himself! He is awesome, I have enjoyed my time with him!

Story time: This week was exciting! I will just begin with one of my "firsts" of the mission! One day, as we were walking down the street a boy on a bike came up and stopped us! That in itself was a first, I was excited. We started talking to him and he began by asking us if we could go in the store and buy him some cigarettes. We, of course, said no. He was then kind of sad and began begging us to go and get him some cigarettes. I wanted to start to teach him, but he was just whining and started getting a dirty mouth... it was pitiful! I feel so sorry for him. We just left him there and he said some bad Swedish words... but we did not get him cigarettes! I do not know what the world is coming to!

Second story: Monday, last week, we went to a members house for dinner. We were visiting them for the third day in the past four because they invited us over a lot and to help out an older lady in the ward to feed us as well. I am glad that she did because the food was amazing! Anyways, Monday they invited us over for family night. We got to meet their friends from Britian, Brogen and Tony. They were the most fun people I have met in a very long time! I learned to speak like I was British, got a couple new friends, and had a ton of fun! We played a game called rum-tee-tum. It is a game of passing cans around in a circle (it is really not that easy) and singing a little song, when you mess up you are out. Brogen was the champion but was defeated by both my companion and Maggis (one of the family members). It was a very exciting night and a lot of fun. They are the type of people that make the church so incredible. Good people, strong testimonies, fun, obedient, a little crazy, and missionary "parents" (they always take super good care of the missionaries - food and fun)

I got to talk to President Newell, he came to Jonkoping for a district meeting. I am growing to love him so much as I get to know him! It is really cool to see him, learn from him and his example and see what he is doing with the mission to make it grow and expand. I have had a great week and hope that you all do to! Transfers are next week already!

Love you!
Austin Maxwell

Monday, August 15, 2011

I love being a missionary!

Prayers work, it really helps to have people praying for you, there is such a power behind prayer that we are able to see and feel in life. I mean, the restoration all came about because of the prayer of one 14 year old farm boy who wanted to know which church was true! I love being a missionary and the work that I am able to be out here doing!
This week we have been doing a lot of contacting and trying to find people. It is really fun doing the Lord's work. I still am amazed every day with the fact that we are able to do this work and have been endowed with power from above. I love seeing the tender mercies and simple happenings in life that are truly miracles and answers to prayers. I am so grateful for the gospel, for the strength that it gives me to do what I know to be right. I know the church is true, I know that God lives, He loves me and I know that I was called here now to serve this wonderful people. I love you all!
Aldste Maxwell

Sunday, August 7, 2011

We have a great ward!

First, I am sorry I do not have very much time to e-mail, the church's Internet was down, so I am just e-mailing from a members house. I usually have more time but things happen!
I love how Oregon is green, Sweden is very much like Oregon, but it has a warmer summer and colder winter. I am super glad that I get to be here and to serve in such a beautiful and exciting place!
I have been great, I am still loving Jonkoping and we are starting to find more investigators... It is really nice here, we have a great ward and there are many really nice people that live here! I am loving serving here and finding people is getting to be more exciting and I am trying to figure out how I can do it a little more effectively! Jonkoping is bigger than Karlstad and I love it! It also has more to do, to see and is very beautiful!
I am so glad to see the power of the atonement in my life as well as in the lives of all those that I get the chance to talk with. It is such a blessing to know that no matter what we do, we are able to come back, to return and that we will always be loved by our Father in Heaven! I know that it is hard to come back, but it is possible! It is always easier to stay on the path!
I love you all, I have to go now! Thank you for writing, I hope that your week goes well!
Love you!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, August 1, 2011

More Thoughts on my Mission

I am loving this transfer! My companion is amazing and we are working really, really hard trying to find people. It is really hard right now finding people who want to listen and to learn. The ward is amazing, they are really good at helping us when we have people - coming to teaches, fellowshipping the people we get to come to church (they feel like they really are loved). It is cool to watch. It also helps when we have investigators who speak Swedish. It is a lot slower when knocking doors, though it is still very possible to have fun and still knock door after door!

I am still trying to improve my Swedish, it is slowly coming and I am trying to learn new words every day! I hope that I will be able to continue to learn and develop my Swedish my whole mission and after as well! I love learning and being able to talk to the people, to learn about them and to relate with them.

Time flies sooo fast, I am scared how fast it really goes by, I don't want it to be gone before I get the chance to talk to everyone that I am supposed to. I want my time to be used as effectively as possible, teaching as much as I can because that really is the best part, being able to teach people! I love teaching! I don't mind contacting or tracting, but it is so hard because it is not that effective and what we really should be doing is teaching!

Aldste Maxwell

When you get scared...

I have learned that when you get scared, you do worse. You don't need to be nervous or afraid, that is just Satan trying to get you out of the game! When I first got here in Jonkoping, I got really nervous, my Swedish fell apart and I started to think I was a really bad missionary. Then, I figured out that it really did not matter, that I did not have to be worried, that as long as I tried I would be blessed and would be able to do better. It was really apparent when I gave my little talk in sacrament meeting... my Swedish was horrible, especially when reading (which I am usually better at) so, I stopped, took a few breaths, and suppressed my fears as much as possible and it went a lot better!

I noticed that some of my socks are starting to get holes. We do a tone of walking! Just Saturday, we did so much that I lost a ton of rubber! It is crazy! When they wear out, I am hoping to get some Swedish stuff, I like the Swedish style!

I have had great examples all my life that I could learn from and watch. It is amazing how much of a difference a smile can make! I am super happy to be a missionary... just yesterday I was talking to some returned missionaries and I am quite sure that two years will not be enough... not that I won't want to come home, but it will only be the beginning of the work!

I believe the sun sets a minute and a half earlier every day, or something like that. We have blinds, but mostly you just get used to it and it is not too bad, plus, you are pretty tired every night and it is really nice to sleep, though it is a battle to make the thoughts stop to sleep... I have gotten better at it! I am never sure how long till I fall asleep but it is not long! And, with the long days, we get sunsets that last for hours! It is really cool! I am excited for the night... that doesn't end. It is a while from now still.

So, this week, I got to go on splits with Elder Jenkins in Skovde. It was a lot of fun and we had a really good time with a referral. It was really cool being with Elder Jenkins. First, he is still a greenie and has the greenie fire! It was really fun, plus he already has amazing Swedish! Anyways, he decided that we should go and visit a referral up in Mariestad, we called her and she said we were welcome to come over! Since he didn't know the area very well, we wandered and had to call the referral to get help finding her... but we made it and when she let us in she was all dressed up and was making waffles for us! (She is an older woman.) Since neither Elder Jenkins or I knew anything about her, we started asking questions about her as we ate... She was an excommunicated member and knew a ton about the church! She is still getting the Liahona in both Swedish and Finnish! As we were talking, it was really cool, it seemed like everything she talked about led her to her belief in Christ and that she wants to come back! Her problem was that she thought it would be weird to be baptized again... Yesterday I heard from Elder Jenkins and she called them and said that she wants to be baptized again! It was really cool, we basically just visited and talked, and she taught us about our church. Now she came to church and wants to come back! The Lord really does lead us to the prepared!

I really do love my mission! It is the best part of being a member, the worst part is that I can only do this once - serving as an older couple is a very cool experience and is amazing, but is not the same! I am glad that I am able to help other people and this is really fun - it is exciting! Plus, I got called to the best mission in the world!!!

Aldste Maxwell

That I Know!

This week has really flown by! I feel like I haven't been up to much this week, but at the same time we did a lot.

I am glad that I am here in Sweden, I have been blessed greatly to be here with all the conveniences of a first world country, and health. I am glad to be here and serve, I miss home, but I know that these two years are the Lord's. He has, through His mercy done so much to make me a better person, that the least I can do is give my all in these two years that I am here, and I know that even though I try to pay Him back, He will bless me more than I could ever repay.

I am loving the work, recently we are spending a lot of time knocking doors and talking to people, trying to find more people to teach, it is a slow process, but as we are patient and show our faith I know that the Lord will reward our efforts.

I am happy to learn about myself as well. It is amazing how much I learn about who I am by being put in challenging situations, new situations and new places. I love being Austin and shining to this people in the darkness... they really, really need the light! I would, like Alma, that I could have the voice of an angel, but for now, I will be happy with the voice of an American, a young 19 year old who doesn't always know what to say, and to have the Spirit with me, the Lord will make it work - that I know!

I love you all, have a great week!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, July 18, 2011

All is Well!

There are many families in this ward who are taking very good care of us. I am really loving this ward and looking forward to meeting more of them. I have had a lot of meals and the people are amazing! It is cool having dinners in Swedish and talking with them. I am still having to learn a lot more, I need to talk more but it is coming. I am understanding a lot better and beginning to really think in Swedish at times. I am able to speak a lot better Swedish after I can switch my mind to Swedish as well. It is a lot of fun.

Some of the families here have mothers from Britain and so they speak English with us. It is really cool and they are always super happy, bubbly people! It is awesome. Plus, British is always fun to listen to!

Families we have eaten with: Malms, Rassmussons, Robayos, Thorns, Lingefors, and several others (sorry, I can't remember the names right now). When I was eating dinner with the Thorn family, they talked a lot about Oregon and how much they missed it... Then they took us and showed us pictures for their trip to Oregon two years ago. I saw pictures of the Brownells, the Bairds and there was even a picture of Maryanne Thelin. Brother/Bishop Baird was the missionary that taught Sister Thorn. It was really cool. We also saw pictures of Multnomah Falls, Pacific City, the huge dune, and Moe's!! as well as haystack rock. It was really fun being able to see pictures of Oregon, to be there again - sort of!

Contacting is going great, we figured out a new approach. It is a lot of fun. I am having a great time and getting good at talking to people and getting them to open up a little. Yesterday I talked to a person who was not interested... he said if there was a chance to make his life better he would just walk by it, he doesn't want a better life. It's sad.

Well, I have to go. We are headed to Goteborg for a zone activity and the conference tomorrow! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Aldste Maxwell

Message from Sweden

Dear Katie,

We had your son, Aldste Maxwell, over for dinner yesterday. His companion, Aldste Wood was with us too of course. Aldste Maxwell is a very nice missionary and he handles Swedish very well. One of our three daughters went on a mission to Temple Square and so we know how much parents like to see pictures of their missionary, so we thought we could send a picture to you. He seems well and happy!

It was fun to learn that he had grown up in the Beacon Hill Ward in Beaverton. My missionary, Michael Baird, lives in Beaverton and has been the Bishop of the Cooper Mountain Ward. Through some miraculous events I got in contact with my missionary in 2008, after not being in touch for almost 30 years. In 2009 we went to the USA to pick up our missionary daughter and spent a week in Beaverton with the Bairds.

Michael Baird came to Sweden 1976 - 1978 as a missionary and taught a 14 year old girl - ME! I had to wait to be baptized until I was 18. At that time I had met my future husband who also joined the church. We have three girls. We have all had wonderful lives in the church, so we have a lot to be thankful for! No wonder we like the missionaries!

Hope you have a great summer over there! Thank you so much for Aldste Maxwell!!

Maria Thorn in Jonkoping, Sweden

Jonkoping - Prettiest City!

This area is great so far. It is by far the prettiest city I have seen. It also has a great ward. I am really excited to be in this ward, I will learn a lot more Swedish and the young adults are a lot of fun. Plus, we get to play soccer with the young adults, less actives that come, investigators and the friends that come along! It is a great way to build relations with people to just play with them, to have fun and then they realize we are real people, and it is easier to get into a conversation with them! I got to play last Tuesday in Karlstad and I got into a good conversation with a Swede, he was studying to be a religion teacher as well. Religion really interests him though he has been agnostic his whole life. They were really nice! It was just me, Elder Rice, and one of our investigators, and a ton of Swedes who had invited us to play with them.

My new companion (Elder Wood) is great! I am really excited to be with him this transfer. He has been my district leader until now and now he still is but is also my companion! He is really fun and a good missionary.

Jonkoping is the most religious city in all of Sweden, supposedly, and so instead of people not interested, they already have a religion! So, it is a little different. Jonkoping has very few investigators right now who are making much progress. We are doing a lot of finding work right now and trying to see if we can begin to teach a lot more. The ward had about 120 people in church yesterday. I was asked to give a talk-ish in church, more just introduce myself, bear my testimony and share a scripture and Swedish. It was really hard getting up in front of all of them and speaking - I need some more work on my Swedish. It was horrible, but went well at the same time! I stumbled a lot. I did it though, and it took up a couple of minutes! People came and told me that I had good Swedish in any case...

I met a family that had been to Beaverton, they have friends that live there (the Bairds) and had visited them recently. It was really cool, I didn't expect them to know Beaverton, though they do know Oregon, that is where Elder and Sister Rassmusen are from! They are in TJ's ward and are serving here now too.

The streets and buildings here are very beautiful. I think this city is amazing so far. I am really enjoying it. The apartment has a great view over the lake and we get to stare at it every night. We just can't go in it.... I am hoping to stay here for a long time.

I am really happy with my Swedish. We had a middag (meal) yesterday and I was able to keep up with all the conversation and participate! After a whole 3 hours of Swedish in church! I love Swedish, it is a beautiful language and is a lot of fun. I just need more practice! I am excited to see what happens this transfer in Jonkoping!

I am currently reading in Jesus the Christ, I have about 50 pages left, it is an incredible book! I love being able to read it and to learn about all of Christ's life, what is important, and be able to get a better grasp on everything that happened! It is a good place for me to begin to think, and has gotten me really excited to learn more from the scriptures, personal study and the Holy Ghost which does testify of truth, it helps us to understand and grow. I love this gospel, the opportunity I have now to learn and to grow.

Thanks for writing, I love you!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, July 11, 2011

Exciting day!

As we received a new president, there began to be some changes.... The biggest one occurring yesterday as we were waiting for a bus. We were informed that president decided that greenies need to be in their areas sooner and so he moved transfers a day forward, and we have p-day today! We had a pretty full day planned and now it is p-day too!

We were also told that we would still be getting our transfer call this morning so last night I was eating my dinner and reading in Jesus the Christ, when the phone started ringing. It was about 10:10 so I thought it would be another missionary, so I answered it. I was surprised to hear that it was President Newell. He said hi and asked if we could put the phone on speaker, which I did. Then he proceeded to give us our new areas! I am going to Jonkoping! I am in the same district and now a lot closer to Goteborg and I have a much larger ward, it is actually a ward now! I am super excited, plus, I get to be with Elder Wood who is awesome!!!! Plus he is a good cook and likes to cook! I might have to fight for the kitchen! Anyways... long story short, a lot is changing with the new president, transfers were completely unpredictable, both time of transfer as well as where everyone would be going! It was an exciting day!

So, not too much has been going on in Karlstad, we talk to people on the streets, ... knock doors, eat kebab...talked to the kebab restaurant manager, he was really nice, and we had a good conversation on Christ. He is Muslim, but not really (he likes to drink which Islam does not allow). We contacted a couple less-active families and taught them, got an investigator to church on Sunday, though she has been difficult to meet with since, even though she said she has lots of questions..... Oh, four women visited our branch Sunday too! They came from Utah, and were doing some genealogy and other sightseeing. I got to translate for the, which was fun, though the first testimony I got to translate was that of one of our visiting Norwegians! So, I got to translate from Norwegian to English, which was a little challenging, but I did pretty well for a first time translating!

Yesterday, July 4th, we had a district conference call to listen to the national anthem and pledge allegiance to the flag. It was a lot of fun. My companion also decided to have a BBQ today and started to invite people, we will see what happens (there are 2 people for sure coming....maybe) It will be exciting, if it fails, oh well, 4th of July one day late and some grilled meat!

Now, since we were going to have p-day tomorrow, I have to go... we have teaches set up today! I love you all, hope that everything is going well at home. I am having the best time. I love my mission, I love the Swedish people, and I love my companions. Overall, I don't think I would mind serving a couple of these! The Lord continues to teach me and to shape me, I am learning more every single day, and the more I learn the more I try, the better I am able to understand how to do this work, though I still need to learn so much more! It is amazing to see how the gospel does touch people, but sad when they reject it. It seems so obvious and so clear, but still it goes unwanted. I pray that I am able to become the Lord's tool, that in his hands I might be useful in helping these my Brothers and Sisters open their eyes, to see! I love the gospel and am so excited to see what the Lord has planned for this next phase in my mission!

I love you all!
Aldste Maxwell