Monday, June 25, 2012

Midsommars was a lot of fun!

I am super excited to start hearing from Christian in the MTC! It is a great place, really crazy and full of work, headaches, and cafeteria food (not terrible, but nothing compared to home!). To answer Dad's question, the MTC has changed the way they teach, and focus more on principles of teaching, and the language, and not the lessons for the weeks you are there. From the first day in the MTC teachers will teach in the mission language, though they can for the first little while translate some to help understanding. I believe by the first Monday or Tuesday the Missionaries are teaching a lesson in the mission language. It is crazy, but the missionaries that come out of the MTC with that training are really incredible!

The 5K run was really crazy! It was not as flat as I was expecting it to be.... there were a decent number of hills that came out of nowhere! I did do pretty well though in any case. I kept up with my companion for the first half, and then decided that I wanted to set my own pace...   I finished the race in 4th place, the first missionary to finish, and with a time of about 19 min, 30 sec (I did not time it, but 3rd got 19ish and I saw him finish ahead of me!) It was pretty good.    I was absolutely dead by the end of the race, my running is not what it used to be! But, about an hour or two after I was completely fine! It was definitely worth it, and I did better than expected!

The four man is great. It is really different, and we were not exactly sure how much food we would need, how to do the shopping and such, but everything worked well, and we are doing great! I am really enjoying it... though it might only last for about a month.... so we will enjoy it as much as we can now! It also allows me to still have a little quiet time. You know me. I like to just think sometimes! Most of my companions do not understand that and are always expecting me to keep them entertained... that can get annoying. But all is well, the four-man is great, and I love my companion! We do get to teach a lot. We have been doing a lot of teaching on the subways and in the stations and such, we are looking for new investigators, and in the meantime just teaching everyone that we can! It is really fun! Yes, Sweden is absolutely beautiful. I can agree with that! And, the people are incredible! It is a wonderful blessed land!
Midsommars was a lot of fun! The race was right before, a part of the celebrations, (There were 28 runners I believe...) and then we had the midsommars pole that we got to dance around. It was a lot more dancing than I thought it would be! It was really fun. That will be one thing we will have to do when we visit... if we can visit that time of year, though I heard that it is actually often raining. This time though it did not rain, there was not a single cloud, guess what that means! I got burnt, hardcore! It was bad... all of us got burnt, others worse, but no fun. Other than that though it was really fun and really cool to learn about! I did get a couple pictures... then the battery started to die, and I was running out of memory, so I will have to send it home soon!  ( You will like that, huh!? )
We have been focusing on teaching whenever we can.  When we are able to talk to someone, to try to teach a principle or two, bear powerful testimony, and let the spirit work! It is working really well, as well as just talking to everyone! I have seen a lot more success and felt my faith in the work growing as I have shown that I have faith, and open my mouth. And, I know that as I continue to do so there will be more success coming! I am glad that I am able to be here and to serve in Sweden. I am very excited for the next little while, there should be a lot happening! Right now, we are mostly open plan-wise, but that just means we will be teaching a lot more people out on the streets! I love this work! I love being a missionary. It is so much fun!

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, June 18, 2012

My New Area is Great!

I am very excited for Christian to come out on his mission and join the troops! The MTC is a lot different than when I was there, but the missionaries that come out of it are many times more prepared and ready to do the work, it is incredible! I bet there will be last minute packing, and that in the end all will be well. I know that he will do great!

I actually had dinner with a lady last night who says that she grew up as best friends with Sister Mayo, here in the ward! The member actually lives in Västerhanninge, but is serving in Hägersten as a missionary. It was really cool, and the world is so small!!! I will watch for her!
 This Friday here is Midsommar afton, so we will be having a big party/ celebration! There will also be a 5K race that I get to run! It is going to be a great day. All the members from both Stockholm stakes, and all the missionaries gather to the same place! It is going to be a great day. I am super excited. I am also really glad that I am here in Stockholm. It is the best place to be!   
My new area is great! Close to Stockholm, so everything is bigger and transportation is much better! There are a lot more huge apartment buildings, and coded entries...   I don't like the codes at all! The area is ready for a lot of work though! It is going to be great. I had a great day Saturday, and Sunday was awesome. Hägersten is a ward, there were about 60 in church I believe! Though there are at least 250 less actives... so a lot of work!
The 4-man is a lot of fun. We have a lot of figuring out to do, like how we want to do the work, cooking, members (it is one ward for us four), and such! It is going to be interesting this week, but in the end all will be awesome! I am guessing that in a month or so that the area will be cut to one companionship again. Meaning that the others leave... President Newell is not particularly a fan of the 4-man! There are two bedrooms, and the apartment is actually the biggest we have! It is very very nice! I have not gotten to visit either of the temples since last time in the Copenhagen. I will try to visit the Stockholm temple soon, it is in the district, so it is the perfect opportunity! Plus, Elder Ouimette has not been there yet!
Elder Ouimette comes from SLC. He loves to run, and was actually a very good Cross-country runner in high school! We are running and training for Friday... (not much prep, but better than nothing!) It is interesting coming into the area, but Elder Ouimette is very good and an awesome missionary already! I am going to do all I can to help him, and to learn from him! We are planning on miracles! It is going to be a great transfer and a lot of going to happen. It is awesome!

So, this week I have learned through experience, that when we really do what we can, we will be blessed beyond what we think is literally possible! Since getting in the area Saturday afternoon, that evening actually, we got five teaches on the streets and subway, and a positive new investigator! It was incredible, and the goal is to continue, and do even more! The success did not come because of our actions, but our willingness to act. It was not us that made everything happen, but God blessing us for trying! People just came to us it seemed! I love being a missionary! I love being a trainer already, it feels as though I am being the one taught! I love it and am so super excited to see what the Lord is going to do with the area here! I know the church is true, I love being a missionary, and I know we are blessed when we do all that we can!

I love you all! Have a great week!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, June 11, 2012

We are what we are...

Sorry this took a little while today... another crazy day and transfer!  Not as crazy as last time, but crazy anyways! Saturday we got a telephone call from President Newell, as usual it meant that we will soon be transferring out of the area! I will be moving this weekend to Hägersten to train a greenie in the Hägersten 2 area! I am excited, though sorry to already be leaving Örebro. So, maybe I will meet Sister Mayo then! Depends which part of Stockholm she will be in... I am going to be a little outside the ''Stockholm'' area, but, I am very, very excited in any case. I will be in a 4-man apartment with Elder Astin (From my MTC group) and Elder Lopp! It is going to be awesome! I will be sure to let you know next week about my greenie! This will now be the 7th area in my mission! I believe that is pretty unusual... but I am still missing one zone... maybe it will come later! Who knows!?

10 Days Christian!!!! That is so cool! I am super excited. I know it is hard to say goodbye to us, but we come home even better I promise! Plus, there is nothing better!

Your Stake Conference sounds like it was great!  I like the council that the mission president gave.  (1 -Love people, be real and genuine. 2 - Love the Lord. 3 - Pray for the missionaries serving in your ward.)  People know when you mean it!  Don't fake anything, don't try to trick anyone, but be real. Love them, and you will want to help them out! Second, when we love the Lord we will want to do as we are asked, we will want to be as He was! There was no better missionary or example than Christ. Lastly, as missionaries we really do feel your prayers and help. We too have been asking our members to pray for us by name. We need prayers, especially the prayers of those we work among. It builds a bond, a desire to work together and get things done! It no longer is just ''the missionaries'' but the ones you see weekly! You will want to help them, see their success! This is one of the times that you will really be able to see, and to be the answer to your prayers! It is missionary work, not the missionaries' work! It is a work that neither can do on their own. I like the idea that teaching is one by one, that we each have our own needs and we will be taught in the way that will best help us! We will receive the most when it is applied and understood (preferably in the opposite order, but either way works! We do not always know why until after!) 

 One quote that I have noticed popping up all over the place is that of Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never give up!" And so it should be. Go forward, walk in faith and power from above. We are children of God, He is in control and will see that we are rewarded for every effort which we put forth! What incredible promises!!! 
I am sure that there are people out there just waiting for us to open our mouths and talk. I believe that scripture was Helaman 2:5, I liked Opa's understanding of that, that we are the angels sent to declare the message of repentance to these people! We are sent to help these people and to do as we are prompted! This is, after all, the work of God, and we are just the tools by which He chooses to build up His kingdom. We play a specific and important role in the work, we are to do all that we can to serve in the best way we are able. We are who we are, because there is a role that just we can play in the scene of this life! We are the light of the world, set up on a hill, viewed by everyone. The darkness when it meets the light is expelled, but it does not understand. Light can only be understood by light. Thus we all have light in us, no matter who we are or where we are in life. As we teach, the light which we are reaches out to others. As we shine, those who are open and willing will see the light and come. We are to shine, that is our role. And, when necessary, we can even use words! I know that as we go out and do our part, we will see miracles. We will win the battle in the end. We are on the Lord's side. I know that there is no other way, there is nothing more that will bring us such wonderful joy! I love being a missionary and sharing my life and love with them! I love being able to share it all with you at home! Have an incredible week all of you, you are incredible! Do not be afraid to stand for what you believe. And never, never, never give up.

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, June 4, 2012

I love being a missionary!

Yeah Christian!!!!  Only 2 1/2 weeks left!  Join the party! Every one loves missionaries!!!! (mostly...)

Yeah, so in a little free time my companion asked if I had passed 200 days yet... I had to check, so I did a little math, and 200 days was yesterday.... so 199 days of missionary madness to go!!!! It is going to be incredible! ahhhhh!!! It really is terrible. I mean, where did the two years go? what is up with that? Can I get a refund or something!? Though, I can't say that I don't want to come home wither, home is a great place with really awesome people! It is the natural course of mission life, you are born in the mission, and die (go home) before it seems like you really know what you are doing! But you still get miracles done daily! It is incredible!

It was a very, very quick week. I don't know why, but it was and I am not completely sure what happened!  So, we have been up to a lot of the usual activities, teaching, travelling, visiting members, playing basketball with the youth, soccer, service projects with older members, teaching, and trying to call people, finding those who want to learn!

This week I am looking forward to seeing a lot happen. We had two investigators come to church yesterday who are really positive. Hopefully through the week we will get some baptismal dates! We are working on getting more positive investigators, that seems to be a continual fight that we have! We have some great people and that is good, but we need more! We do still do quite a bit of teaching, though we are trying to always get more... there is a mission goal to get 20 a week per area... that sounds like it would be easy, right? That is only three a day! Think again! Though we are getting close some weeks. We are working on that, and I am working on opening my mouth more! Again, an ongoing battle.

My companion is awesome, he is quite different from me, though similar. He is smarter for sure, but not really athletic.... which is okay, there is a lot that I get to learn from him in other ways! I am excited. He loves languages, physics, and music! So, I am going to be having him teach me different things that I can apply and get better at! Maybe one day I can even write a song! =) we will see....

I have not had too much creative cooking recently. We have mostly just been sticking to the basics, and such... I can't really think of anything else to cook with what I have... though Elder Asp has taught me some more missionary food recipes... they were interesting! Not really my type though... ha ha. It is good, and we actually get a good amount of member dinners as well!  Ha ha, Christian will for sure learn to love foods that he did not like before! I personally have not found anything specifically that has changed... I do really enjoy fish now and then... not everything, but most! Sweden is safe food wise.

Yes, I think I have gotten rid of my southern accent... though I am not really sure... my Swedish is not the best anyways!

The apartment is nice, though smaller. It has everything that we need! It has a good kitchen, bathroom, and new mattresses on the beds! It is great! I am not going to complain. 

Today we will take it pretty easy, play some piano, maybe go buy a new bike... if Elder Asp gets his wallet back today... (lost it, but the police sent it to the office). He got the money for the bike on his card... then we will have some food, and we are going to a members house to teach two new investigators and have family night! Great way to start the week if you ask me!

Today I have a testimony of fasting. I fasted yesterday, of course, and even though I was not necessarily at my best the whole day, I saw miracles happen, and we had a great day! We got to teach an old investigator who was awesome! We got to have two investigators at church who should be baptized soon!!! And, we taught priesthood, sort-of... with a presentation and I bore my testimony about the second harvest that was prophesied to happen here in Sweden. The spirit was strong, I made the decision to buckle in and just get to work! My time is running out. But, I know there is a lot more that I need to get done before I go home, and now is the best time for me to get in and do it! Forget myself, forget everything, and work with faith. I read a scripture yesterday in my personal studies. It was Moroni 7:33 I believe... it said that when we have faith we will work miracles. I have faith in my Savior, I will be a tool and work miracles for Him and the Swedish people, everyone that is here and is ready. I know the work will go forward, and I know that I can not be stopped if I am working for God! I love being a missionary, and I am glad that I get to be here to work and serve the Lord! I love being a missionary! I love you all! Have a great week!

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell