Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Work Continues!

So, yes, transfers are next week. That will change a couple of things. I will most likely still be here in Karlstad, but if not... who knows? I will let you know next Wednesday, p-day is pushed back to the day before transfers so Monday next week will be a little different.

We are having incredible weather! I had to stop wearing my suit coat because it was too hot. And then I started getting scared for summer. One, because it is hot. Two, because what I thought was slightly immodest - exploded.

I have had a good week, we began tracting in a new area, Orrholmen. It was a place that I found on the map while my companion slept, trying to get healthy. We went there and found some really big apartment buildings that were not port coded!! We started tracting, and a lot of the people that opened the door were interested to listen to our message! My companion nicknamed the place the promised land. That was probably the weeks highlight.

We had two dinners with members this week, they were all Easter themed. We had hardboiled eggs, one had some type of shrimp on top, the other had some caviar (I thought that was actually pretty good, plus it was cool that the little orange eggs popped when bitten). At the Nilssons we had the caviar eggs, followed by lamb, I thought of Emma while eating that.... then I had to bahh. So I told them the story and everyone started making little lamb noises, I missed Emma a lot then. We also had potatoes augratin (cheesey potatoes) at each house. At the Amachi family's house we had the shrimp eggs after having a flash fried fish on toast with some weird sause. The fish was raw. It was really good though. Afther those interesting dished we had the potatoes, chicken and a salad. Both times we drank Paskmust as that is essential at Easter.

I am trying to learn all that I can from the people here, they are really willing to help when asked, though if you just want to talk it is a little harder. Prayers are amazing, they are such a blessing for me, especially as a missionary. I can talk to somone who knows everything!!! I don't think there is any better resource. I am so glad to be here. It has blessed me soooo much already and I feel that I have grown, though I know I still have a very long way to go. I am glad that I can serve my Lord.

It has been a really good week. I believe my companion and I are mostly better, so the work continues!

Love you lots,
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, April 18, 2011

We knocked on the wrong door?

This week has been really good, one of the best experiences of my mission happened this week, at least so far. This week while on splits, I was the senior companion and we went tracting after meeting with one of our investigators, the investigator teach went really well so we had a good start. While tracting we knocked on a lot of doors, at one of the doors an older man opened the door and asked what we wanted. After explaining what we were out to do, he let us in saying that it sounded interesting (our message). After talking for about a half hour he just started laughing, more than he had been throughout the whole teach, and told us that he was just joking, he does that to all the religious people who knock on his door. Of course that was disappointing to hear but I felt like I should keep teaching and asking questions. As the teach went on, he became more attentive - he really listened and really had to try to laugh. I saw a change in him, he was still skeptical, but he saw the light. We left him a card and a promise to come by in a week or so, even though hew was not sure why we would think he was worth it... I love seeing how people can be changed like that, he would not admit it but there was something that we said I could tell touched him. I love this work and seeing the amazing changes made in people's lives that follow his teachings. I am excited to have many more teaches and experiences just like that!

The mission is great, we are progressing some investigators and have more positive ones, though there are also down falls. For example, one of our investigators now is Muslim. He comes from Iran. If we were to baptize him and he were to go back to Iran, there would be no way to stay active or practicing. He would be killed as soon as anyone found out that he had become a Christian. He is not sure whether or not he will be able to stay, or bring his wife and daughter over to Sweden forever. He can't really be baptized. The sad part is the Iranian government supports and even helps to destroy those people who convert. It is a sad world that makes people do things like that.

Other than that, we are doing really well. We have an investigator (Swedish) who has said he wants to be baptized, but is waiting until he finishes school this spring. We have met others who are also very positive and good people. Actually yesterday, Elder Cluff and I went to drop off a Book of Mormon to an investigator, but we went to the wrong door, we talked to the guy that answered anyways, he seemed really interested, we talked for a while, gave him a Book of Mormon and then he said he would read it and wants us to come back in a while and talk more! Cool and amazing things happen all the time!

Happy season of Easter! (Pask) Oh yeah, remember the Julemust that Eirik's family sent? They have the same thing for Easter, but of course a different name (Paskmust). It is good, very different from US sodas, but good.

It is really fun being on a mission, best time of my life. Already worth more than I could have ever imagined. It is amazing how fast we are able to learn and to grow. I finished the Book of Mormon again (since arriving in Sweden) and it is an incredible book!!!! As President Monson said, "Read it!"

I love you all, thanks for all of your support!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, April 11, 2011

I'm Glad I have Struggles!

It is a lot of finding work that we are doing right now. We have several investigators, right now none are progressing... So we look for more people who would like to learn more. It is fun work though it is also filled with shut doors. Yesterday we knocked on one door, the man opened the door and as soon as he saw us he began yelling, really loud, swearing and all that (in Swedish of course). Of course he also thought we were JW's but he never gave us a chance to say anything. Very fun. It make me sad though, people don't even give us a chance.

The ways that the Lord works are incredible. I am continuing to learn how he teaches, not just others, but me. I am constantly learning, making observations and being edified by little things every day. It is spectacular to read in the Book of Mormon, and read the stories, the teachings and prophecies. Everything has a pattern, everything has a purpose. All we need to do is figure out what they are, and we have been shown what we need to do, it is all given to us. It is sad to see all these people around me who do not accept truth, they reject truth and light, they are blind to what they even have. Some of the most difficult people to teach are those who do read and study the bible, they do not understand what it means, and will not accept what help they need to really understand. I do pray for them, I pray for help, I do not know what to do. But, I don't have to, someone else does, and He is waiting to help.

We taught a religion class in high school this week. The classes we teach are usually from 16 to 18 year old kids, so not too old, and they usually think we are atleast 25ish. The class this week was really fun. First, the teacher usues the South Park episode to teach her classes about the Mormons... I know, what teacher would use South Park to teach a class of students? Anyways, we taucht basically the first lesson, then answered questions. It went very well. We taught in English, but used some Swedish, they laughed at me a bit when I spoke Swedish, but that is expected, right? The questions, were of course mainly rumors, how many wives do you have? What is your magic underwear? And then some anti-ish stuff. The teacher likes asking the very anti questions like why are there no women leading the church? Why don't they get the priesthood? and all those types.

It is incredible to see how we are led to answer the questions. I know that a lot of what I said came from the Spirit and my Father in Heaven. I have felt him comfort me through all the shut doors, rude people and helped me know what to say when given the oportunity to talk to people. For the most part they understand what I am trying to say, I know that he is helping me every single day. I hope that I can be more receptive to his promptings and see the tender mercies and comfort throughout every day. I am far from perfect, but I am trying to be closer, one step at a time.

I am glad that I have struggles, they make it more fun to smile. The Lord always tests us before he blesses us, that is one reason the blessings are so amazing! I hope to serve as I have been called, to find my mission and do all that I can to finish it. I have already been strengthened and will perservere, nothing easy is ever worth it.

Be happy and don't let the time fly too fast.

Aldste Maxwell

Monday, April 4, 2011

General Conference in Sweden

I did watch most of conference this weekend, I am planning on finishing it with my companion this afternoon. They have it set up so we can watch conference in several languages. I watched it in English the whole time. We had it set up to be in English in one room and then Swedish in the other but everyone here decided to watch it in English, even the members that came. We watched the Saturday morning session on Sat. afternoon, the priesthood session Sunday morning and the Sunday morning session in the afternoon. Today it will be just my companion and I watching on the computer. We brought popcorn! It is a lot of fun.

I am teaching my companion French, he knows Swedish and wants to learn another language. I am helping him with pronounciation, which is helping me remember what I know... I am still working on Swedish.

We stay pretty busy here, though most of our investigators are really hard to get a hold of, have school, or are too busy. It is good to be busy and doing good things, but too often that is just an excuse that people make so they don't have to meet.

I am waiting for the snow to melt to see truly how beautiful it is here, I think once the grass is green and trees have leaves it will be spectacular! Not that it is not pretty now, you will see. I will try to send my card soon.

Thank you for teaching me what is important in life, to study the scriptures, and center life around the gospel. It is amazing seeing how people think it is easier to just ignore that part of life. I have seen and felt so many blessings already, as Kerstin (an 89 year old lady we visit) said, the Lord blesses us greatly, she was amazed how well I could speak Swedish and that I was able to communicate with her!

Thank you for all of your support! It is truly a blessing to be able to serve my Lord. I love the work, I love you all back home! Take care, have fun and be happy!

Aldste Maxwell