Thursday, January 27, 2011

Week 4 - Half way to Sweden

His scriptures after 4 weeks in the MTC - starting to look like missionary scriptures!

So, I just got a haircut, feeling good, it is kinda weird, but oh well, it always is, right? lol Friday is halfway done with the MTC. Not that it is an unenjoyable experience, I really enjoy being here. I am excited to get to Sweden.

The language is coming along pretty well. I am still having a difficult time with a lot of it, but progressing really quickly. The teachers are teaching almost completely in Swedish, and it is crazy. Last week I was feeling really confident about my Swedish skills, but then we started to try and contact "investigators" (our teachers). With Sister Hegstrom and Brother Harris I felt really confident, I understood most of what they said and could reply. We still got rejected every time we tried to contact someone. Then we went and contacted Sister Randhahl. I didn't understand anything she said, she asked why she needed religion and said that she believed that religion was the reason for all the wars and killing. That was rough, I had no idea how to respond in english, let alone Swedish!
I have found that I am a good listener, and that I can understand what they are saying a lot more often than being able to respond. I still find it amazing how much we have been able to learn so far. I am able to hold simple conversations, I can teach simple principles, and I am working on expanding my vocabulary to be able to respond to more possible questions that they might ask. I want to be in Sweden, but I know that I need more time, it is really challenging. It is even frustrating, though it shouldn't be. I am learning sooo much but there is soooo much more to learn before I am ready.

Last night we had another great devotional. The speaker was from the first quorum of the seventy, he gave a great talk on the prophet, and how president Monson truely cares about people. I am sorry, right now I don't remember his name....

I did figjre out how to print off my emails so I have more time to read and then print them off. I sent a letter yesterday, it has the first memory card. Sorry, I did not fill it up, but I did what I could. There is only so much that I can take pictures of here, and what I can will most likely get repetitive.... Still working on getting into the "pillow room". I am pretty sure I know where it is now, I just have to get past the locked door.... Any suggestions?

Eirik: Sorry, but it might be a little while before I write a whole message in Swedish, and yes, I would love to come visit you after my mission! I was hoping you would say that! Hopefully by the time I go home, I will know enough Swedish to be able to communicate in Norwegian too! We will see. Let me know what you are up to.

So, a group in my branch and zone left today, they got here after we did and already they are leaving, it is crazy. I have seen Sister Williams (Kimberly), and Kendra Carver who works in the Cafeteria. Elder Barney is here, he has no idea who I is kinda funny. I have also seen Elder Horning. He is great, I will be sad to see him leave soon too.

Other than what has already been said, nothing much has happened. As a district we dominate at four square. I started running a lot more during gym...last time I ran a quick two miles before doing abs and push up and such. Still havn't gained too much more weight... hehe any ways, I am having a lot of fun and excited to hear more from all you!

Jag alskar dig,
Aldste Maxwell

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Week 3 - Hej Sann!

Austin's districts classroom at the MTC

Hej Sann!

So, I am now actually 1/3 the way finished here! We are scheduled to leave the MTC the 28th, though that might change a little depending on flights. Also, I have my "release date" already. I am scheduled to be released the 11th of December. So, those are some possible dates to look forward to.
Anyways, this week has been fun, nothing too exciting, but good. Last week the MTC presidency was changed. The new president is really cool, and a lot different than the previous. In class we are learning Swedish like crazy. By Saturday we will be having class in Swedish only! It is actually really cool. I memorized some more scriptures in Swedish and in one and a half weeks we will be teaching the first discussion completely in Swedish!

No big adventures happened last week, there is little time left in the day to have adventures. Plus, with all the speakers telling us that we need to be using every minute that we get to further the Lord's work, I would feel a little bad/selfish using this time for myself.

I have not really gotten lost here yet. I was confused a couple times the first week but since then I have really been able to find my way around. It is actually a really small place. The hardest part was that all the buildings look exactly the same and I had to figure out how to tell which was which by memory.

Anyways, I hope that all of you are doing great, I love you all and want you to know that! Have fun and let me know what is happening!

Love, Elder Maxwell

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Greenie Box"

We are putting together a "Greenie Box" to send to Sweden to celebrate Elder Maxwells arrival - fresh and "green" from the MTC. If you have any suggestions of a green item to include in the package, let me know!

Week 2 - Loving the MTC - like "crazy"!

The district visiting the Provo temple.
I have been doing great! The MTC is great, though the food does not even begin to compare with your cooking at home. I am having fun here, there are a lot of things going on every day, I will try to mail you my schedule.

Temple trips are a scheduled time on p-day, it is really nice being able to go to the temple of the Lord. I saw Kimberly Williams on Monday, I think it was Monday anyways. She just got here a little while ago and leaves a little after I get to. Thank you for all the letters, they really make my day. At the TRC we usually have a language portion (15 min) and a discussion (35 min) where we talk to an "investigator". They actually have a surprising amount of Swedish volunteers here, it is crazy, I am supposed to sound like that!?! I am sure it will come with time.

So, this past week has been crazy. Today I did some laundry and cleaned the room, along with study and companion study, etc. Last night we had a devotional, Elder Holland showed up and gave an amazing talk, he called all us missionaries to repentance, that we need to be doing a better job and that we have three big areas to focus on. I loved it, he brought such a spirit to the room, it was amazing. We now have three teachers, I have yet to meet one of them, we have had more dutch teachers than Swedish, and our first teacher has already left... I am not sure what we did... haha. I am really enjoying it, I found the "Narnia hole" (in the closets) and in one of them was a large bag of kit-kats, it was sweet. I have yet to find the pillow room, not sure which rooms on my floor are not occupied yet, I will find them soon. I really miss my mothers cooking, though it is still pretty good here. We are learning Swedish like crazy and I cannot wait to get out in the field. Today I get to go to the temple, that will be exciting. I love visiting the temple...

I love you all, have a great week and I hope to hear from you soon!

Elder Maxwell

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finally, Email from Elder Maxwell!

The district New Year's Eve party, in Austin's room at the MTC

We finally got emails from Austin, they are quick answers to emails we sent but I will compile them into one entry:

"How was New Year's at home? We had a little party in my room, the previous Swedes left us boxes full of candy and random stuff, we ate some of it, played around and got to know each other a lot better. My district is great, they all love the Lord and really want to do all they can to follow the rules, be respectful and learn. Swedish is challenging and awesome.

Yes, the first week was major brain overload, I got headaches all the time and Sunday I got a really bad one. Now everything is starting to be a lot easier... At night we are all really tired but it is actually a bit of a challenge to fall asleep because of all the things running through my mind.

I have learned a lot in Swedish already, I can pray, bear testimony, carry a simple conversation and already met and taught an "investigator" in the TRC, we then got to teach the investigators the first discussion, which was in english and was really fun.

The spirit here is great, I know I am really being blessed and having a lot of help. I am excited to learn more. Last night was a devotional and we had Elder Baxter and his wife talk (first quorum of the seventy) it was great, a lof of the talks that they have here are really powerful, forward and perfect for us as missionaries.

My companion is great, he is from Utah, 21 and very smart. Elder Tak (my companion) already has his masters!!!

MTC life is very scheduled, there is not a free minute in the day. Today is actually really weird, as it is P-day, there is a lot of unscheduled time and I don't really know what to do with it! So , I am emailing and my laundry is getting done. There is constant learning going on here, the one thing they could change to make it better here is for better/more weights in the gym. I have ended up playing foursquare every gym-time now... the best work out I had was today when I did some pull ups and push ups in my hall. lol, well time is running out so I love you and the rest of the family and I am having a great time! Thank you for everything that you have taught me. I really feel like I was prepared for this."

Love you!
Elder Maxwell

1st Letter!

Hey Everyone! (Hej alla!)

I made it to the MTC no problem. It is an amazing experience being here. The days are packed full of classes and activities, there is barely a moment to spare at all! My companion is Aldste Tak, he is a great Elder. I am excited to get to know him better as well as all the other Elders and Sisters in my district here. Today we learned to pray in Swedish, I am still working on the pronounciation of all the vowels and letter combinations. Met the branch president and his 1st counselor today, as well as their wives. Yestarday we began role-play training in large groups (1st day!!!)
This whole experience so far has been a little overwhelming but worth every second. I can't wait to learn more and soon enter the field!

Love you all,
Aldste Maxwell

Oh, and my branch presidency is amazing!
(They told us to write that. :) )

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And he's off!

We arrived at the airport at 5am to find the place packed. Thanks to Grandma needing a wheelchair that morning, they were able to go to the front of the line or they would have missed the flight. Quick hugs and he was off! We heard that he was moved to 1st class on the Chicago to Salt Lake leg of his flight. What a way to start your mission!

It's Official!

On December 28th, Austin became Elder Maxwell! He was set apart by President Clawson. It was a beautiful blessing that brought much peace and comfort to this mother's heart.


On November 12th, Grandma, Mykalanne and Steve joined us at the Oquirrh Mountain Temple as Austin went through for the first time. I was prepared for this to be the first of many tear-jerking experiences but it was a very happy, peacefull, rewarding evening. It's great to have times when you see the years of mothering paying off. He actually has been listening to me all these years! What a fine young man.

Getting Ready!

Suits, shoes, shirts, ties, socks ..... What are we forgetting?

Opening the Call

After a weekend of stalking the mail counter in the Cannon Center, the call was finally opened!
Sweden, Stockholm Mission
December 29, 2010

The Call

Austin's mission call was delivered to Victor, NY on Friday, August 27th. (Jonathan waited by the mailbox each day so he could be the first one to get the mail!) As promised, we did NOT open the envelope but rushed to the post office to overnight it to Austin at BYU. For some reason, packages are not delived to the Cannon Center on Saturdays and, as Monday was a holiday, we had to wait until Tuesday.