Monday, November 28, 2011

A Note About Dryer Hugs

At our house we give dryer hugs. (It is a wonderful tradition, not sure how it got started but we all love it.) When a batch of laundry with towels is done drying, I yell out, "Who wants a dryer hug?" and they come running, big and small. A fresh, warm towel is then wrapped around their shoulders with a hug. It is a delightful tradition that I highly recommend to everyone!

When Austin was in the MTC, he discovered that he could give himself a dryer hug on P-day and it helped him feel closer to home.

Well, on Monday morning, I dreamed that I gave Austin a dryer hug. I have been missing him and just wanting to be able to give him a hug so it was a very sweet dream. Since it was email day, I quickly sent him an email to let him know that I had sent him a dryer hug.

Here is Austin's response: hey, funny story... This morning as I finished my laundry, I got my dryer hug from you! It was probably the very moment that you dreamed it as well!!! So, thank you! I remember getting out the towel, wrapping it around me and saying, "thanks, Mom", in my head! I loved it, I am never far from home! So, thank you again for the hug!

I am so thankful I got to hug my missionary!

A Very Happy Thanksgiving!

I had a great Thanksgiving. I didn't get homesick... though I did miss you all! As said we went to a members house and had dinner there, and pies!!! It was really good. Though me and my companion were the only ones that ate pie! We now have three pies in our fridge... and more on the way supposedly... =P I also got to help do dishes!!!! That was fun! haha, It felt good to serve, and to talk to the member, I think she appreciated it. Her kids don't seem to listen right away... though I guess that is very normal... At least, from what I remember! You could definitely tell me if it were otherwise!

I got a dryer hug this morning! Thanks Mom! You should get one too! You can even say it was from me! lol!!! I love you Mom! (I promise that I had already written this! =P Love you!)

It is very scary to think and see how many thing really are mind numbing... for me I would have to say that taking a shower is mind numbing and that I waste a lot of time there! As you remember! It is just weird... time disappears. I am personally working on that as well as other traits or habits that are of no benefit but waste the precious time that I do have.... especially as a missionary, but also after... I don't want to be the same after my mission as I was before I left, I want to be better!!! Satisfaction is also a very trying and convincing enemy... I have never yet done my best, and all I do should be helping me to get there!!!

I love being a missionary!!! It is the best being able to wake up, study the scriptures and take time to organize everything for the day, then go out and work. Work for others. It is a work of love and faith. As we develop love, we enjoy the work, and find success in places where others might only find cold rejection. Faith is the principle of action on the unknown possibilities and principles. Who knows if the next person who happens to be walking down the street has questions about this life? Do you get to decide that for him? These are our brothers and sisters! They are My brothers and sisters! Should I not reach out and try to lift each and every one of them? I have a light, I can share my light, I can show my light, and when I give light to others they too will have light, and mine will grow! It is the best, to see the light in someone else's face, to see the change, the glow! Oh how wonderful to see the redeeming love at work in the lives of others, and feel its influence in me! I am a servant, yet I have been served much much more than ever I have done.

In the service we grow. In the journey, we find out who we are. In the end, who knows who you will be? I want to be the best I can, and follow in his steps, that when I fall, weak as I am, He is there to catch me! I LOVE being able to proclaim this glad message, to spread the light to the world. I learn from my older brother, I seek to be like Him. I know that He is the only way, my path and light. I know this and am glad to share it with everyone that will listen. The church is true. It is the light in this dark and dreary wilderness that the world has become. This I know, in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

I love you all! Thank you for your support, your love and prayers.

Have a great week!

Austin/ Äldste Maxwell

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Quick Note!

Well, Good Morning Everyone!

Sorry, I have to admit that again I have almost no time!! Can you believe it?!? Anyways, we are heading to Gubbängen this morning for a missionary turkey bowl and thanksgiving party... So, we have to be on a train in about 15 minutes... haha... so, sorry if this ends up a little short!

First, Jonathan. Congratulations!!!! I am soo excited that you got the priesthood, how does it feel? And, you look incredible in the Suit and tie! I really like the tie, it is awesome! Take care of it and you might be able to take it with you on your mission!!

It sounds like everyone has had an incredible week! I am glad that you are all doing so well! This week personally has been slow... we have done a lot of tracting, and none of it really paid off this week, too bad... But, the upcoming week is going to be incredible! We have Zons Konferens, and Elder Causeé is coming from the area presidency.

We are celebrating thanksgiving with the member family on Saturday, and everything else this week should hopefully be filled up with teaching, finding, and preparing all of our investigators for baptism. We will most likely all be here until January, though President can change people whenever he feels like it, so we will see!!! Well... Sorry. This is really really short this week.

I love you all and am sooo grateful for you!!

Äldste Maxwell

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nothing too exciting...!

This is all I have time for today, sorry!

Nothing too exciting has happened recently. This morning I stole my bike. That was interesting... Yesterday it was not where I had left it in front of the travel center. So, we looked around a little bit and found it locked to another bicycle on the other side of the buses! So, I did what I could to make sure that they (whoever moved and locked my bike with another) did not take it. I then returned home for the night. This morning, I went out and had to cut the lock off my bike so I could take it back home and put it away for the winter! So, I stole a bike, my bike, this morning. Hopefully I will be forgiven for that. I would not steal it back if they would not have taken it in the first place!

On a more missionary note... this week has been good. We have been doing a lot of tracting and contacting. As we teach and help our investigators to progress, we continue to try and find more who will listen to the message we have to share with them! As tracting goes, usually it does not have too much positive effect on the work, but as we were out knocking doors and using the Book of Mormon to begin talking to people, we found more people who would talk, and we were able to teach about the Book of Mormon, and answer questions that they had. Several invited us to come back a day or two later, some of which were also not there when we returned, but that is the work. Even tonight we have an appointment to go and talk to one of them we talked to. He was quite interested to learn about the Book of Mormon and I am excited to talk to him and begin teaching.

The Lord know us as missionaries, He know the people that we need to teach. As we are ready and prepared to teach, when we have become what we need to be, we will find those who are ready and as we teach we will be led and strengthened to be able to best help these children, our brothers and sisters, to come back to our Father who loves us so very, very much. I know that people are being prepared everywhere. I know that I am being prepared and I know that when I am ready, I will be given the strength to fulfill my call, to be the missionary that I am meant to be. Daily opportunities are presented to learn and to grow, to be better and better. I know the Lord lives, that He loves me and that He is my strength. I love being a missionary. I love the work. I love you all and hope that your weeks are incredible and filled with the love of our Father who is in Heaven.

Aldste Maxwell

Monday, November 7, 2011

Finally! The whole story!

Ha Ha, yeah, I know... mean Austin. He knows just how to build the suspense and leave it at that! Okay, so... how are we blessed so we are not confounded by others? (one of my favorite experiences so far!)

As most of the best stories begin, we were out knocking on doors! This was no different than any other day, it was Sunday, after church and we had just been fed (a miracle of how God provides) by a less active member that we visited. Well, we were just going around in Ryd, knocking on doors. We had quite a bit of time and no more appointments that day so we were looking forward to some good tracting time. We got the usual, "Not interested!" - slam! and all of that, but as usual, continued on in our hopeful manner, seeking out the prepared.

Then, it started with a door. Just like the others we had knocked on. The door opened, and I started talking, but the boy who answered (19-ish?) just turned and said, "It's for you", to someone else. His mother came to the door. She had talked with previous missionaries and decided that she did not want to talk, but I, being curious, asked some more questions. She didn't see any reason for the Book of Mormon and no area in the Bible where there would even be evidence there could be one. I patiently tried to answer her questions and help her to understand but to no avail. I bore my testimony, encouraged her to read in the Book before she judged it and left her with our contact information if she wanted to talk any time later. I was sad she didn't listen, but felt food because I had borne witness and I had felt the confirmation of it's truthfulness and her need for that.

But, as you are probably thinking... that has nothing to do with being confounded! No, it does not. But, it was how I gained a greater portion of the spirit that day, so I would have it with me when I really needed it.

We continued to tract. After a little while, it was again my door. As usual, I knocked and wondered who would be next to open the door! As my luck goes, it was a couple who had just gotten home from church, some Jehovah's Witnesses. (I know, I heard and saw my companion just give up right there, and I was really tempted.) But, I decided to follow the spirits promptings and began by talking about the Book of Mormon. He said he had heard about it, but had never read it. I talked about it a little and testified. He decided to change the subject a little by asking about Revelations 22:18-19 (18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.) He was trying to use that scripture to prove that the Book of Mormon was wrong. I stunned him by agreeing with what the verse said and then continued by teaching and explaining what that verse meant, that at the time it was written, there was no such thing as the Bible, and only the revelation of John. As I explained, I made sure to listen to the promptings I received, and patiently, lovingly, answer and open the scriptures to this man. He saw the truth in what I said and changed subjects. "What is God's name?" Typical question, and one they use to prove Jehovah. I again opened the scriptures and explained through verses that he would open to and read. He would always try to prove me wrong, but as I opened his eyes with other verses, his arguments fell to pieces, one after the other... I was blessed with the revelation I needed to withstand his attacks, and teach truth. As said in scripture, we will not be confounded before men.

He was unable to say anything against the church, and at the end had to just flat out refuse to want more. He got angry as I offered to give him the Book of Mormon, he was happy with what he had and wanted no more. I know I was blessed, I know that God will bless and strengthen His servants. I cannot tell you how many buses have been delayed so we were able to leave a quick message, and still get our bus. God knows, He loves and He leads us to everything that we will need to succeed. (Oh, and one of the best parts was that everything was in Swedish!!!) I have been given so much!

The mission is great. We have a goal as a mission to get 60 baptisms before Christmas. And, it can happen! We have good investigators who will hopefully continue to progress and have found what they need to continue. I love this work. My companion is great, I really enjoy being with him. We started studying from a 201 Swedish verbs book. Now, I have that all down pat, and he does too! Now we get to move on to others that are more difficult and continue our growth! It is really good when working together to achieve the same goals! Personally, I am healthy. I am happy, and I am doing great! The weather here is great, a little chilly at times, but good. The weirdest part is that the sun sets at about 4 pm now...after rising at 8 am! That is interesting and it is weird, I feel "tired" when the sun goes down, but that is only about half the day!

I am doing great, I love being a missionary still and hope that all of you back home know that I love you very much and hope that you all have an incredible time!

Love you!
Aldste Maxwell