Monday, July 30, 2012

It is some of the most fun and hardest times.

Well, I am doing great! It sounds like everyone is keeping busy and having a lot of fun! I really don't understand how time is so crazy. I don't know where all of the time goes, and I have no idea what I am going to do to get it to slow down a little. It is great being here on a mission. It is some of the most fun and hardest times.

There is still a lot of nature here, though there is also still a lot of nature in Stockholm too, just not downtown, there are too many buildings for that! Though I am sure that it is better than many large cities in the states. Stockholm itself is built on a lot of little islands, and so there is a lot of water through and around the whole city. There is nature everywhere. You do not have to travel far in any direction to find forest. It is great! Sweden is just green! It rains often enough that all is green and healthy, but the rain comes and goes suddenly. It also, at least recently, has only rained at night! It is really nice.

Yeah, I am going to come home talking like the Swedish chef! ha ha, that guy is crazy! Though I love those clips! ha ha. I am glad that Elder Ouimette likes me.. ha ha, I might be a little crazy, but I try to be nice! I also try to teach him... so he learns and remembers the important things, hopefully he understands, I am not a perfect teacher! He is a lot of fun.

We are getting some great investigators now, and yes, they are still progressing. Not always as fast as we would hope, but at the speed which they feel the most comfortable! I think this time we can get the baptism stuff all down and organized, out of the way so everything works out the way it should! No stress, that is the goal for the next baptism!

Swedish... well, it is going great! I think last Thursday was the best day ever for that! I was complimented by three different Swedes for my Swedish! One we were talking to asked where we were from, I asked about my ''brytning'' and he said that he could tell I was Swedish, but not where I came from! I told him I was from the USA, and he didn't believe me! It was great. I feel like I am finally starting to get a hang of this Swedish stuff, and start sounding Swedish! So, it is good... though I still have those times when I have to slow down and think what I am going to say... though if I don't focus too hard, it usually comes easier! Do I really put Swedish words in my e-mails? Like what? I am really curious now... I can also promise that I will be mixing in Swedish when I get home. We do it all the time as missionaries!

I love being a missionary. I do notice that I have changed, but I do not know to what extent. I am not the same boy who entered the MTC, I am not the Greenie I was a year and a half ago, (almost!) and I am not the same person that I was even last transfer! I know that I have overcome some of my challenges, I know that others are still a challenge for me, and something that I still need to work on. The gospel is a gospel of progression and progress. I am not the end product. I am ''in progress'' as a person, a work of art in the making! That is not to say that what I am is not good, but that what I will soon become is even better! Diligence is one of the hardest attributes for me personally. It requires effort, constantly. I do good at times, but slip at others. I just hope that in the end - I progress! I love knowing that I am not alone in this process, I am not the only one shaping me! I receive strength and support from above. I know that I am not perfect, but I know that if I do my best every day, that one day, I may become perfect. I know my Savior lives. I know that He loves me. I love you all and hope that you all have a great week!

Love you!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, July 23, 2012

So this week..... well, I can't really remember!

It really just went really fast! Elder Astin and Lopp moved/went home... so we have a great huge apartment all to ourselves! It is nice, quieter... but it will be good. I believe that we have started adjusting... though food portions are still being cooked for 4. Not really a bad thing, it means that we have leftovers that we can use for quick meals! I might just try to keep that up!

 We have gotten a lot more work that we get to do, so we are keeping busy and we are also getting to go and see a lot more of the members and begin working with them! Other than that, nothing too exciting has happened that I can think of. Sunday we had dinner with a family, they spoke Spanish... and not much else! It was really funny. I was actually able to understand more than I thought I could! And, I started to teach myself more! Soon I think I can contact in Spanish too!  We will see though... it will take some time! 

I love being a missionary. I love it when others recognize something in you, and they don't know what it is! They get curious, and want to learn about it... until they learn that it is God. Then they become confused. How can these 20 year-old boys believe in God and be happy about it? Are they brainwashed? We then get to testify and bear witness of the truth and joy that we receive from God! These can be some of the best teaching moments, and some of my favorite. I get to share my joy, I get to help others to see more, to learn about God, and open their eyes to more possibilities that they really didn't think even existed! I love answering questions, and helping people to see.

 I love the gospel, it is so simple and so effective! I know that God loves me, that He sent His son to suffer and die that I may receive joy and blessings, that I can make mistakes, and just get up and go again! I am so thankful that I know these precious truths. I know they are true. I will not deny it. I love being a missionary. This is the best work in the world!

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, July 16, 2012

Keeping my Fire

I am starting to build my relationships with the members of the ward here.. it is a really great ward.  I just need to talk more to people! I was never super good at that.... still a work in progress.  I am doing all I can to keep my fire... I want to go out with a bang!  That is much more exciting than just fizzeling (I have no idea how to spell that!) out of existence... lame!

The work is going great... it is hard with people on vacations, a lot of people don't want to do anything at all! Though at the same time for others there is nothing that they have to do! For example, yesterday we met with a new investigator that we have and he said that he has nothing to do, no work, no school, and no where to be, so he will meet as often as possible! It was a really nice change! In the school year and such, people always say to try in the summer when they have time. Then they are on vacation until school starts again! Ha ha, so is the life of a missionary! =P It is fun, I really enjoy it. Plus, we get to meet some really interesting, and some really nice people, as well as miracles and changes wrought by the spirit! I love being a missionary, it is the best ever!

The two other elders are moving out this week, and it will be just me and Ouimette!  It will be an exciting change.  Change happens for a reason, and it always works out!  
Salad week was really good.  I think it was to compensate for the cheesecake that we had!  Which was good, but not my favorite recipe!  I believe that we will be doing one more today... Elder Lopp is going home this Thursday... so Wednesday will be his last day with us in Hägersten.  We will have a little celebration / goodbye party for him!  I am excited... we are going to have turtle cheesecake!   I am excited.  
This week was a good week.  It was very fast, and thinking back it feels as though not much has happened while the whole time I have been keeping busy!  I don't know what happens with time! Yesterday we had a great teach with an investigator that moved into our area.  He has a baptismal date for the 4th of August, and if he keeps going with the fire and desire that he has now he will be baptized sooner than that!  We met him in the train station in the area that he lives in, and since we could not go in his house with him (he is renting a bed I think), we just talked in the station on a bench.  As we were sitting there talking about the gospel of Jesus Christ, a couple of ladies walked past.  They stopped and said, are you preaching?  We of course answered that we were, and they said, what?  They then, before we said anything else saw a Book of Mormon, and started yelling at us.  They began to tell us how wrong we were, and then telling the person we were talking with that we were wrong, and to never listen to us or he would go straight to hell with us.  It was quite unexpected, and a really good indicator to how interested our investigator (Misghina) was.  After they got over the initial yelling, we began to talk about what we believed, as from their yelling they showed that they really just had a bunch of misconceptions and false understandings.  As we taught and bore testimony, they changed.... slowly, but they changed.  They stopped yelling, became surprised even that we believed in Christ!  And, as we talked of Christ, they were amazed by our conviction.  One of them even said, ""Wow, they believe in Christ!"  The other was thinking we were just trying to trick her, switched to another language... some middle eastern language, and told our investigator again to not listen to us, that we were wrong, and then walked away!  Misghina was awesome, he stood up for us, and for himself.  He said that he was there because he wanted to listen to us, and that he was going to!  Overall, nothing bad came of it, only good.  I hope that the two women had their eyes opened a little, and that they recognize the spirit that they felt there.  I know that God was there with me and my companion, supporting us in the face of adversity.  I know that this church is true, I know that I am a son of the Most High and that He will support all who do His work.  I know that we will never be alone, we just need to have faith!  I love being a missionary, and the experiences that it brings.  I love the gospel and the peaceful, loving message that it shares.  I know that Christ lives and loves me.  I love seeing the spirit at work.  
I love you all, have a great week and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Love ya!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, July 9, 2012

Have fun, be good and seek the spirit!

So, first, we don't have time... I know, same old story, so this will be my only e-mail today... Sorry!  I love you all, I promise!  =P  

Everything really is just getting super busy.  It is crazy but great!  And, by the sounds of all of you, you are all staying busy as well!
Last week in our apartment we had grill week, though we only grilled a couple times... now we are going to have a salad week and eat a lot of awesome salads, get creative, and eat well!  As well as being healthier and working out more!  It is going to be a great week!  I think I am also going to make a cheesecake... we will see... I did borrow a pan from some other Elders... they didn't even have it unwrapped!  Psh, I had to describe a spring-form... and they said they want it back!  ha ha... now they know what it is for!  
 It has been a good week.  We had zone conference which as usual was inspirational and a lot of fun.  I learned a lot about myself, and then even more importantly, I received more thoughts and ideas of things that I could study when I got back home and in personal studies!  

I know that people are put in our paths, I know that we are put in people's paths, and I know that I am here to help someone!  Hägersten is not like my past area, the ward here is getting smaller, the members are moving, and they are not all especially missionary minded.  There are almost divisions in the ward that are pushing people away.  Of course, this is an incredible ward, and there are families that are incredibly, mind-blowingly, missionary minded. But, the work is to be done differently.  I know that I am here to help people come unto Christ.  I know that some of those people will be people I meet to teach about the church, others will be members who need to come closer.  I know that I am not perfect personally.  I know that I can not expect others to be either!  But, I know that we can all come closer to Christ, and that when we come closer together as a family, as a ward, as a community, as a church, that we will come closer to our Savior.  "For that which ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."  I know that I am here to serve the Lord.  I serve Him by serving and lifting all those around me.  I love my Savior, and I love this work.  It is the best work there is to do!  I know He lives, and I know that He loves me.  
I love you all and hope that you all have an incredible week!  Have fun, be good, and seek the spirit in all things that ye may do.  You are incredible.  Don't forget it!

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, July 2, 2012

The field is better!

Christian, It sounds like you are having a lot of fun, and have a great district! You are all going to get super tight. Love the MTC, and learn all that you can, but I promise, the field is better!!!! Keep it up, and the language will come no problem!

Everyone, Last night was super fun, it was really nice, so Elder Astin and I decided that we were going to sleep on the balcony outside. It was incredible! I think I have a couple mosquito bites, but it is not bad! I can't wait to actually go camping! It is great.
This last week we have continued to do our work and work hard, we are reaching the stadards of excellence for teaching and finding, but we need work on our investigators and future baptisms. It is just hard finding people! It is frustrating, but that is just how the work is!

I know that as we do all that we can, we will be blessed and all of our blessings will follow. I know that I am not perfect and that sometimes I give in to my weaknesses. But, we have been given our weaknesses for a reason, and they are a part of us so we can learn and grow, that we can be better, that we can learn, and prove who we are!
I love being a missionary. It is hard work, but it is the best work that there is! I am glad to serve a mission here in Sweden. The people are kind, and they seek to do good. They are just missing the good that comes from God for them! I know the church is true, and that my life is the way that it is because I am a member and I keep my covenants with God. There is no better way to live. I love having God with me always! I love you all and hope that your week is incredible. I pray that God will prepare people for us to work with, and that we can all act when prompted, and act when we just know we should! The gospel is the best thing we can give, and it costs us nothing! Give!

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell