Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Still an Answer

This week we had Grens Konferens (branch conference). It was amazing! First, we filled the chapel, I believe about half were people from the stake but it was still awesome! (and it was 2 1/2 hours) I loved it! I don't know if it is just because I am biased or anything but most of what they talked about was missionary work as a branch, to find people. And temples, I really miss the temple already... Overall, the spirit was powerful and the fact that there were people made it even better. It was a lot nicer being able to have a lot of people to sing!

So, this past week we spent most of our time with less actives and trying to get a hold of all of our investigators...I don't know why people try to avoid us, it just makes it hard on them when they see us around! They get all guilty looking and try to get away again as soon as possible! Not the way to live. Anyways, last week I had good food, made banana crumb muffins, they are really good. My companion doesn't like bananas either so...I had to eat them all.

Yesterday, after Grens Konferens, we had dinner with most of the branch and stake people. Good food, nice people, and Nicholas got his temple recommend! He is going on his mission soon, it is all really exciting. Then we went to try to get a hold of some of our investigators in Skoghall, no one was there or just didn't want to talk to us... we went back to Karlstad and tried talking to people...no one was very interested. I decided that I would contact the next people we met on our side of the street. I saw a couple walking down the street, contacted them and they were really nice but not interested. They continued to talk with us for a couple minutes though, asked some questions, and asked a little about us (they could tell we were foreigners). They asked how long we had been in Sweden, and when I answered they didn't believe it! That made my day! They didn't think it was possible that I could know so much Swedish in that time! I told them that we get a lot of help. They asked some questions about the church and then continued on their way. They didn't want to meet again, but that was still an answer for me. I felt like Heavenly Father had sent them to help me. It was reassurance that my efforts are paying off, that I am able to communicate, and that I am doing what He wants me to do. I am so grateful that little things like that happen, that I can know someone above really, really loves me. I know that He is there, that He does want to help me, to help everyone and will make sure we are taken care of.

I am glad that I am here to serve and to continue to learn. I have had great examples in my life and I want to make sure that I fill my potential, living up to my rights and privileges as a tool and servant in the Lord's hands.

I am always amazed by the things that seem so little, but can mean so much to others. I love smiling at the Swedish people. There are very few that smile, so when I smile at someone and say "Hi", I get quite a variety of responses, from confusion, ecstatic smiles and happy reply - to those that push it away, avoid eye contact, and do not respond. The smiles back are my favorite, especially when mixed with surprise! It is cool to watch someone change from gloomy to happy and full of energy. Plus, it is easy to smile!

Thanks again for everything and all your prayers! Prayer is powerful, especially when you believe that it does make miracles happen.

Love you all!
Austin/Aldste Maxwell

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I am loving my time here searching for the people who do have their hearts softened and are seeking for the truth. I love the scriptures more than I ever have in my whole life! It is like they just came alive and that I am able to understand them so much better than ever before! I am so glad to have been raised in our family, to have a father and mother who taught me everything that is the most important in life: I was taught to read the scriptures, to pray to our Father in Heaven. I too pray every day that I can do more of what God wants me to do, to become his servant, and take none of the glory, for I know that I am nothing and that all that is done is done by God with his power. I know that My Redeemer lives, that He really did suffer for all of us, that we can make mistakes and be forgiven, that we can progress and do more, be better!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

My Week was Great!

My week was great! It is rainy here now. Sweden is very interesting weather wise, it is unpredictable but nice. Mostly we have been getting sun, recently it cooled off a little and we got some rain, and then it will probably be sunny again. I have heard that they get thunder and lightening, though I do not believe that it is very common. (Meaning that I have not seen or heard either myself while being here.) I do enjoy a good thunder and lightening, it is always fun to watch and there is just a power in the sound.

I am sorry if I am beginning to make less sense. I was told yesterday that I said something very Swedish, grammatically anyways.

We taught about 11 lessons this week I believe, which was pretty good for Karlstad. We talked to most all of our investigators and got back in touch with some old investigators. One of the investigators is a little crazy. ... the branch mission leader started laughing and shaking his head when he saw the name in our report on Sunday. It was funny. We knocked on her door, she opened it and let us in. We basically had to crawl over an old couch and other junk to make it into the kitchen, which was a disaster, there was a rabbit cage on the ground...there was some rotting vegetables inside it and basically all over the floor. I never saw the rabbit though, or whatever it was that lives/lived in there. Anyways, we started listening to the lady (listening because she did all the talking) and she covered a lot! She began talking about some person that she believed in...I think he basically claimed to be a Christ or a similar thing to Christ, and she believed in what he wrote, or something like that, it was all in Swedish and she jumped around so much that I have no idea what she was really talking about. Of course she also talked about other things too, like the space brothers and how she went to see them, but you can't really see them with our natural eyes. She wondered if they needed some type of money to go back home and if that was why they are here. She told us about the space ship she saw and that she wanted to be baptized , but that she would have to stop drinking tea and coffee first, and then she talked about the first guy again, most of the same.... And then her husband went past the kitchen and opened the front door then went back in to watch TV...she continued to talk, he came and told us to leave, returned to the TV, and she continued to talk, and he came back to tell us to leave and that he did not believe in our church because God, the Holy Ghost and Jesus Christ were three and that doesn't work, so he doesn't believe in God... he was drunk I think, he also looked deathly sick. I am guessing that he has been drunk for years and undernourished too. Anyways we left and that was about it.... That was an exciting day.

I contacted a lot of people and had some fun responses. Sooooo many people believe in God and know that he is really there but do not want to admit it because they know that means they will have to change their lifestyle.

Food was generally pretty normal this week. Oh, Monday we visited a Bangladeshi investigator, he fed us, good food, almost like Indian, maybe better. They gave us some drink stuff, it looked like some kind of smoothie, I was thinking blueberry...he said it was to help with digestion so you can eat more. So I tried it, he said he thought we would like it. It was nasty. I am sure there was no fruit in it, if there was milk, it was definitely sour. It was kind of like drinking sour cream but didn't taste as good. Plus, he had given me a whole cupful!!!! It was great, I downed it as fast as I could, it took a couple goes... then at good curry chicken and rice to forget about it.

My new companion told me that he has always eaten separately with all his other companions, so i am now cooking for myself! I think that is good and bad, first, I can eat more of what I want. Second, I don't need to worry about what he likes or doesn't like. But it is really weird. He will never be in the kitchen when I am, so if I cook my food and eat it at the table, he waits until I am done and have done the dishes, and go to study or something else before he even goes in! He is a very quiet person, coming from me that is a lot! Really though he is a nice person, he talks a little more now with me when we are in the apartment or walking around. I have no idea what he did before coming on his mission, other than he is trying to major in theater, as a light tech. Members have even asked him what he likes to do and he has never answered them. So, that is my goal. I am going to find a way in and see who he is!

I have not done much sightseeing on p-days, I would like to go out and do more of that but my companions, so far don't seem to want to. There is a lot of water here, lakes and rivers galore! And, as a missionary I try to stay away... I might fall in... ha ha...

I even got a dryer hug today!!! (Pretending it was from you of course) So thanks for teaching me that! It is an easy way to remember being home for a little, not that I am homesick, this is too much fun right now!

Overall, a lot is happening and miracles are everywhere!

Aldste Maxwell

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

No Longer a Greenie!

All is great, yesterday was definitely exciting waiting for president to call with our transfer information. I am staying in Karlstad and getting a new companion. Aldste Rice... I think that is how it is spelled. I am super excited, first, I am no longer a greenie! Second, I get a new companion. Third, well, I am really starting to love the people here! I am finally learning my way around Karlstad and getting to know the people, plus we are getting some people who are really positive.

Swedish is becoming a lot easier to understand and I am beginning to develop my vocabulary. Still working on pronunciation in conversation, but I have a bit more time to work on it.

I get my new companion tomorrow. As I will be staying in Karlstad, I will most likely not be on a bike.... I still have not even seen a missionary bike. Transportation by bus here is a lot more affective, and is very good... So that is what we use the majority of the time - that, trains or little tram things in Goteborg.

Last Friday was Valborg, a holiday to basically do spring cleaning and begin yard work from what I understood. They have bonfires and help each other clean, of course, it is more of an excuse to get drunk. It is hard to talk to people when they are drunk.

This week was a lot of fun, we had our last district meeting before the transfers, that was fun but a little sad. It was also the most interesting so far... Elder Chipman was in charge of the activity, he brought some Chinese treat from one of their investigators... It was a bunch of little packets with .... guess first.... duck tongues!! So, he gave us a packet each and said, enjoy!! proceeding to open his, put it in his mouth, take some pictures and then eat it!!! I thought that was absolutely disgusting... especially when I found out there were bones and tendons and such which you can eat but don't have to if you don't want. I watched him and then our district leader eat them, then I opened my packet took out one tongue, gave it to Elder Lindford, and then took out another for me! Got people ready with my camera - and took a bite! It was not too bad, ...until I got a little bone... but I did eat duck tongue... I did not eat the whole thing, just the softer fleshy front part, not the sinews and tendons in the back.... That was exciting.

I had a great week, I think that every week of service is amazing! I am always amazed when I think about the day and all that has happened - how much we really are blessed! I have loved every day here, they have been challenging and a trial at times, but those are the times when we grow the most, right? I love missionary work! I love to see the changes that it can bring to people's lives.