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