Monday, September 26, 2011

Well fed!

This week I did have several interesting food experiences. First, we went to a member's house for a dinner and she had a huge pot on the table, and a couple more on the counters and such. She had made some chili, rice and boiled eggs and had a ton of bread out so we could make some "sandwiches" (sandwiches are really different in Sweden). The food was really good, and I was full, but then she took my bowl and filled it again! With more than 3 times what she had eaten! It was crazy. Well, I made my way through that, and was ready to roll over and die when she brought out dessert! And, even then she made me take seconds!! I am going to be very honest.... Never, never have I wanted to throw up so bad! But, I kept it in because I wanted to show my companion it was possible.. but that was horrible... I am still (two days later!) not hungry! And of course, later that night we went over to another member's house (2 hours later) and guess what! They were preparing food for us!! I honestly about died.

The next day we went to another members house and I got to have sil! (Pickled herring) and to my utter surprise, actually enjoyed it! And, when I get home, all of you will get to have some too! Oh, and I also had some torr kott (Reindeer jurky) which was also very good!

Last week we played football, it was so much fun! I got to run a lot and it felt so good. I really miss running and all of that, but it will come back! I impressed everyone by chasing down Elder Cluff when everyone else gave up, and he had a 20 yard lead!!! It was great, no one thought that I could run that fast. Surprise!

They do not have any satelite here so we would usually travel to Norrkoping, but instead the branch is having it projected on Sunday (Saturday sessions) from the internet. The rest we will watch when we get some extra time... like p-day and, well, yeah!

I love being able to teach and help people to come closer to Christ! This week we have mostly been with the members and leave them a message and try to get them to help us to find people to teach! It is also starting to work, which is great! I love it when missionary work really happens! I have noticed such a big change in myself since I have gone out on my mission and I can't wait to see what life is like when I get back, how much smarter I can be and what my life is then like! I love being here and being able to help people to grow!

Thank you for all that you do for me and for the great support! I love you all and hope that you all have an incredible week! You are the best! I am doing what I can to be the person that I am supposed to be, to follow the Lords direction and serve with all of my heart! I love the work!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

This week has been amazing!

This week has been amazing, we have been staying very busy and talking to people... It was mostly tracting and contacting, and some teaching, we really want to spend most of the time teaching, but we need investigators to be able to do that, so out we went to find! It is not as nice as teaching, and not as effective as it should be... but we have to find somehow!

Overall, it is going very well. I do have most of the ward members' names down now. We have visited many of them and are continuing to visit and get to know all of the others. It is a lot of fun.

Yesterday we got to go into Primary because they were having a lesson on missionary work. They told us we would be teaching about an hour before... someone forgot to call us! But it went really well, and I am starting to have a lot of little friends again! I got a couple pictures from them after church! One was a picture of missionaries and the other was a picture of Kasper (that is his name) picking plums to share with Jesus! It was adorable!

It is great being able to get to know the mission president and everything that he does. They are incredible people and are really fun to get to know and always have such a great spirit with and around them! I love them too, and all the missionaries, and the work!

Story: Last night as we were tracting again, and going door to door and talking to anyone who would open the door, we were having no success at all. We hadn't had any the whole week! It was getting late and we were just going door to door, knocking, waiting, and moving on to the next, with several uninterested people and a couple nice people who listened but were not interested. And, as the stories usually go... it started to rain! We began another trap (staircase with apartments) and we knocked on a door that looked exactly like all other doors. A man opened it and my first thought was, "oh-no...". He was bigger, looked like he was from the middle east and had a winter vest, beret, shorts and flip-flops on. Plus, he was smoking. As we started to talk, he was really receptive, kind and interested! He let us in, and we began to talk. He asked a lot of good questions, we taught about the Book of Mormon and he wanted one! We set a time to come back later this week and he was super excited! It is cool how things like that happen. It is always the same too, we are tested, then blessed! I am excited to teach him and to find more just like him as well.

Well, I have to go... going to Stockholm for sports!

Love you all, have a great week and keep it up!
Aldste Maxwell

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Work is Great!

The work is going great! I love serving with Elder Kundis, he is a great guy, and wants to be effective in our work! I have had a great time with him so far. We are beginning to get to know the area really well and we are finding our investigators, teaching and looking forward to baptism here in Linkoping!

Sunday, yesterday, was great. We had Branch Conference and there were about 15 people from the stake who came to talk to us. It was great to have our little chapel filled! I am so excited for the future of this branch! Almost every talk was about making Linkoping a ward, that we are ready, and what we need to be doing to make it happen. The best part was that I have been having the feeling that Linkoping is ready, the Elders before us said that as they were leaving, and the branch president as well as all of the ward leadership is focus on growth! It is incredible!

I am loving Linkoping and loving the branch. I am getting more confident again with my Swedish and trying to not rely too much on my companion. I am trying to become more confident, to continue to learn and to grow. I am excited to be in a smaller branch because i get to know all the members personally and I will get a lot of Swedish practice. I will also get to really take part in the work of finding, teaching and baptizing that is going to be happening!

I am loving being on a bike because I feel healthier and I am getting into better shape. It is also really nice to be out in the fresh air, not stuck on the dirty, worn down buses or waiting at bus stops with all of the smokers, though that was always a good place to start some conversations. Overall, I am having a great time and I am loving the experience and growth. It is so much fun being a missionary!

I love being a missionary and there are so many blessings that come with it! I love studying the scriptures, the meaning that it has now! I know that the scriptures are full of light and knowledge for us. I am learning that many of the deepest and most rich of all doctrines are based in the simple truths, the Atonement, the Love of God, and His Plan for all us us. I know this church is true, I know that my Father in Heaven loves me very much and wants me to be as happy as possible. I want to help others to see that, that is why I am here in Sweden after all!

Aldste Maxwell

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome to Linkoping!

Well, the new area is great so far! It is great to be able to have a change of scenery and people. I am starting to get to know a bit of it, though Elder Kundis and I have a lot more exploring to do before the city will be fully usable. Ha ha! We are both new here, so it is a lot of fun! I can tell you that we have already been blessed - we haven't gotten lost yet! And we are on bikes! I love the bikes, one speed, old and no shocks at all!! It is great, I have really enjoyed the new challenge and opportunity to work out.

I really enjoyed getting to know the branch, though we had to leave right after the closing prayer to get on a train to go to Stockholm for a music concert to sing! It was a crazy day. We got back this afternoon. I did get to get up and introduce myself and bear my testimony at church yesterday. I am still terrified and get nervous when I have to get in front of people! It is hard... the sad part was that this is a small branch again, so there is not the same excuse! There were probably about 20 people yesterday, most of which are older, but there were also a lot of youth in younger families which brought a lot more umph and life into the branch. This week we had a full three hour block, supposedly this was the first week that they have had a full three hour block. Linkoping is bigger than my last areas, by quite a bit, though the branch is smaller. I love the branch and the opportunity this will be to learn and to grow. We get to translate the meeting/class into English for some of the members who are still trying to learn Swedish / only speak English! It is going to be an incredible transfer!

My companion, Elder Kundis, is great. I love Elder Kundis! He was in my district when I arrived in Sweden! Now I get to be his companion and learn from him about the work! I am excited to see and learn more about him. He is from Great Falls, Montana, going to BYU, has a great singing voice, can play piano and guitar both pretty well and is great at Swedish! He is basically just awesome. He is a lot of fun and there never is a boring moment with him around. I will update more as I learn more! Oh, and he has a blog too!

I love the new mission president and the opportunity I have to learn about another person and to learn about the traits and characteristics that he has which I can learn and use to be a better person and missionary! I am excited to be able to see him more, to learn and be diligent!

The new branch and area is incredible! We are working on finding out who our investigators are and who the missionaries were working with. They did not keep any records here since the beginning of this year! It is going to be interesting and a new start almost! It is going to be a lot of work, but at the same time there is a lot that is ready to happen, and in some ways this could be a really, really good turn of events! I just need to roll up my sleeves and get to work!

Have an amazing week, have fun and don't forget to smile!

Love you!
Aldste Maxwell