Monday, February 27, 2012

Carving a path - takes time!

I can't believe it is almost March, I refuse to admit it. You could say that I am in denial, and happily so! I think time should take a break for a while and come back in a while ... when it is done with a relaxing vacation and is ready to return at a reasonable pace.

I love it when the spirit just takes over, and you can feel that everything that needs to be said is being said. I had the opportunity to give another talk in the branch yesterday, the same topic too! I used that to get a little laugh... ''I guess I didn't do well enough last time'' ha ha, it was great. It was perfect! And they had to tell me to stop! I think that was the first time! And, the same man that gave me advice last time applauded (silently) when I sat down! He gave me a couple more tips to be incredible, but he was ecstatic! I loved it! And, he isn't even a member! (yet!) But, as I said in my talk, I am shy... that was not me that gave that incredible talk!

I have heard that my group gets to make a choice, go home Dec. 20 or on our ''official'' date (Jan 11th) (but if I went with Jan I would probably actually extend a month or so...) Just a little food for thought!

I am loving the work, it is still slow, but we got a good pointer yesterday to the direction we should be focusing! One of our New Members sent a text message saying they don't want to be a member anymore... we went by last night and talked with her, and she had already been regretting the text. We just will be focusing on her, and all of the New Converts to help them feel like they are loved, needed and continue to come! It is always hard to change, and once a change it made, it is easy to fall back into the previous habits.

Rivers carve their paths slowly and surely over years and years until they are carving canyons and are rutted into their path. even young creeks and streams carve a path in which they flow. To get out of that path takes a lot of work and requires time! And the whole time it will be wanting to go back! But, after perseverance all obstacles can be overcome and a new course carved into the plains of life! That is something that I have been focusing on, changing those habits I have that are detrimental to my progression, and overcoming the desire to fall back to the already-set path. The best part is I am not alone! I have felt the help of my Father in Heaven and know that I am in good hands. I know that I can't fail, everything is possible and will work out! I am excited to help others learn the same truths I have grown up with, to change their path and find true Joy! I love being a missionary, I love the work!

Last Thursday (on splits!), we went and taught a Swedish couple that had been investigating for over a year, and we got baptism dates! It was very fun and exciting! We are still searching for our own investigators in Kristianstad.

Best thing I ate this week... probably pork chops baked with cheese and a tomato slice, a potato gratin and such... really good, plus then we got baked apples with a cream sauce for dessert, really good! (we were visiting an investigator that likes to invite us to eat with her!)

Have a great week everyone!

Love you all!
Austin/ Äldste Maxwell

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Love the Work!

I am glad that I am able to spread a little of the joy that I feel as I follow the spirit, the rules and the Savior in being a missionary. I love being a missionary. The challenges are some of the best parts because they are an opportunity for me to show that I am able to grow, that I will sacrifice and that I am willing to give for what I know to be true!

Here in Sweden things are great! At least here in Skåne! It is starting to look and feel like spring! There are flowers blooming, the snow is almost all gone, and the sun is out and everything is warming up! It is a beautiful day!

The work is still slow, we are still looking for people, but we are spending a lot of our time with less active members and helping them to come back and be active again! It is not exactly the focus, but it is. We are to help others to come unto Christ! Sometimes that means taking the time to find the sheep that has wandered.

I know that before my mission I was a terrible member missionary. I never did everything that I should have, I was not as outgoing as I could have, and should have reached out more to others around me. But, I will not be the same when I get home. I want to do my part to help the missionaries! It is crazy, I never realized how much I am supposed to do as a member! But this I know, that members have an incredible power and capability to help us to find teach and baptize. They are the friends, the support and the introduction, the missionaries just teach and prompt to make progress, it is really the members in a specific branch that make growth of active members! Missionaries move, change, and move on. Members are always going to be there! So, members, work with your missionaries, get to know them, love them, and invite your friends to talk to them! Missionaries, get to know your members, serve them and do what you are supposed to do so members will trust you with their friends! Love the work, grow and serve!

I know because I have seen it in the work, everything is better when you follow the rules, when you do all that you can to be obedient, and you love the Lord. I know I am not perfect, I know there is more that I can do, and I am going to do all I can to be better, be that missionary the Lord KNOWS that I can be! I love being a missionary! I love the Work!

I love you all and hope that you have an incredible week!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, February 13, 2012

Random Questions from Emma (and Austin's answers!)

  1. what is your companions' middle name? (did you have to ask him to find out ?)
  2. what did you have for breakfast?
  3. what color is your toothbrush?
  4. what tie are you wearing?
  5. have you told any jokes recently? :D
  6. what are you studying in the scriptures right now?
  7. what is your favorite scripture?
  8. does it change often?

1) His middle name is Elison... I didn't ask him just now... =P I checked through the Internet! Did you know there is a website here in Sweden that can show you almost everything about anyone!? It is really nice for missionaries. And, for the record, I did learn it before, but forgot... we never use middle names, and rarely first names at that!

2) For Breakfast I had some home-made granola with a banana, milk, and some pineapple-orange juice! Followed by some cookie dough for a mid day snack! =P

3) My toothbrush is blue and white... yeah, yours? =)

4) I have the blue stripey/blurr tie that you all sent... It is an arrow tie, different shades of blue, and is super awesome!!!

5) I don't think I have.... Most people don't seem to understand my humor... Friday some members asked me if I knew any Mormon jokes, but nothing came to mind... and I didn't want to follow the trend of racial jokes, that is not really missionary language... at least that is what I thought.

6) Right now I am focusing on the Bible and reading the whole thing so I can use it better while teaching, and knowing the stories to help others understand it. I am currently in the book of Lamentations, so I am getting there! Not bad for about two months anyways! I also read daily in the Book of Mormon, though currently that is sporadic at best!

7) One of my favorite scriptures is currently Ether 12:27. The promise that it is for me, for everyone is so cool! I love being able to receive hope, comfort and strength to continue from the scriptures!

8) Yes, because whenever I am asked the question I will find the scripture that I like best at that moment, as well as just the powerful scriptures that are out there! There are so many really good scriptures that there is no way that there will ever be just one favorite! The scriptures are incredible!

Nice and Sunny!

So, today was nice and sunny, the snow is almost all gone, and it is great! Kind-of... I was actually hoping for the freezing weather and such, but this is not bad at all! It is almost the same as Oregon, but more sun and less rain! I have seen some pictures on the front of newspapers and such.... that looks really cold, and really fun! But, we have nice weather! And, it is warming up!

I still don't like making phone calls, and I called a lot of people! Though there is one preson that we will start meeting hopefully! He was busy all last week and weekend, but said call again this week! (Great, another phone call! =P)

The week went much much better though. Our overall teaches increased by 500%! That is both an indicator of how few we had recently, and how many more came last week! And so, I hope to keep the trend on the raise. It is a process, as all things, but I know that if I do everything that I am supposed to be doing, keeping all of the rules, and loving the work, that it will continue to grow, my companion can catch the love for the people and forget everything and get to work!

Missions are not easy, they are not supposed to be! We do not always know what we are doing, we are only 20 years old! But, we have help from above, from someone who knows our weakness and just wants to help us and to love us! I love it! We can not fail. The war that is going on is tragic, there are losses, people do fail. But, we know the final outcome. We know who will win! So, now we get to choose, which side will I be on? I hope that I always choose the right side, that I follow Christ, our captain. I hope to bring others with me and fight against all that is wrong, against our adversary, the king of pain, and sorrow, and bring his captives back into the light!

Oh what joy and what a work! We are called to be a light, a guide, to shine for the lost, and carry the banner of our Lord! And, as promised, He will fight all of our battles for us! We can not loose! I love being a missionary! I love this work!

Love you all! Happy Valentines!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, February 6, 2012

Oh, Brother!....He's going to Bulgaria!

Yes, I did read Christian's e-mail first! (Bulgaria Sofia Mission!) Then, proceeded to open the mission's homepage and see a little about what he is in for! It sounds super fun! I am so excited for him! I hope that he really does all that he can to just enjoy it! I wish I could have seen him open it too, but oh well, I could hear his excitment through his e-mail!!!! I can't wait!!!

I had a good week, wouldn't say busy, but we keep out of trouble! I still need to pick it up, and that means that tonight I am going to be calling a lot of people on the phone... I say this to you because that means that I actually am going to do it now! We have so much to do, but not much is being done, and we are not sure where to start.... so, I am going to start with less actives and past investigators that we have had! Then we will continue from there! I love the work but hate it the same time... I have to change, take control, call people on the phone, all the stuff that I have never really enjoyed...... It is awesome! =)

Yes, we do have money, we survived, and didn't go hungry! It is good to have food storage and to be careful with the money that we are given, you never know when you will run out! It was actually quite fun!

Well, on that note, I know that a mission is the best ever for any young man, or woman (you know, through personal revelation and communication with the Father) that it is a time of growth and a time to learn about who we really are. I personally thought that I had that all figured out, that I knew what life was about. But, I didn't, I had no idea! It did not come at once, I still do not know everything, but my eyes have been opened to see what really is truth. I know that I had no idea before, suprising, huh!? I knew nothing... but I have learned a lot since coming here. I have learned that I have had a really wrong (not wrong, but incorrect I guess) look on life. I always though about me, money, work, grades, etc. They are important, but not really. The one and most important thing of all is serving the Lord. Period. That is it! Weird, huh? When we serve the Lord first, we will be given all that we need. We need to be engaged in a good work and He will provide.

As you knew, we were running low on money. We were broke. But, as we served, we were given all that we needed. We got fed by members, and even given groceries by one family who were going on a strict diet and needed to get rid of their food. We were fed, and not by our own means at all! I know that I have been blessed, I know that I am being taken care of and loved. I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing, I love being a part of the work. I love my Father in Heaven, He knows me and what I can handle. I want to be all that He knows I can be. I love the work. I love being a missionary.

I love you all!
Äldste Maxwell