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