Monday, August 27, 2012

I felt like a greenie again!

Languages are a lot of fun... though also a pain!  So, it is actually quite funny you brought up languages!  This last week I had some great new experiences, and trials!  Last Wednesday, President Newell called me in the morning!  Well, he called us, and my companion answered... I was sitting at the table munching on a bowl of granola with yogurt in it... (super good!)  I had the feeling it was president who called because Elder Ouimette seemed more tense than he usually is on the phone... (He was pacing much faster, and much more formal! =P) Anyways, he brought me the phone and said, its the president!  I took the phone and said, "Hello President, How are you?"  And he said... "Bien, et toi?"  Ha ha, get where this is going?  President continued to talk with me for a couple minutes in French, explaining the situation that had come up, that there was a man coming to the mission home from Luleå to be taught, and that he spoke French!  President wanted me to help teach!  I said okay, and began studying my French like crazy!  I did a lot of praying, and even fasted Friday to get ready to teach!  President had told me that I would come up to the mission home early Saturday, and then all day we would be teaching, and then also all day on Sunday! (After church of course)  So, I got to teach Florintin Nkulu Kilonga with President Newell!  Honestly, I did not do that much teaching....   mostly testimony, and starting the movies.  It was really good though.  Saturday I was terrible, I had the hardest time putting my sentences together, but Sunday I was able to have good conversation, and talk with Florintin!  I also got to learn a lot more about president!  It was a great weekend!  This also might mean that I will be moving up to Luleå soon... President said that they might need some help with French up there because of Florintin, and the other 20+ African investigators up there.... so keep your fingers crossed!  I would love that!  Florintin was incredible, so humble, and kind!  I really hope that I get to be with him again!  And, I felt like a greenie again!  Though it also got me super excited and ready to go!!!  All in all, awesome!  So, I am working a lot more on french now, Swedish is doing great still, and English seems to still be working.  I got a dictionary today, French-Swedish!  found it in a lopis (flea-market) for 40 Kr! 

Oh, and Sunday morning, we went with an investigator to see her church.  Fair is fair, right, she came to ours, we can visit hers too... so we went, and it was interesting!  She is Assyrian Orthodox, so we did not understand anything that the people said.  (by the way, this was before our ward met)  We watched/ listened for a while and looked around.  We then got up, and went into the hall.  She asked us if we had questions, and started talking about everything, and what was going on!  That was when a man came up and started yelling at us, in Swedish.  He yelled some  bad stuff, and told us to get out.  We started going, and he continued to yell, telling us to go faster, never come back, continuing to yell other stuff, and followed us for a very long way!  Our investigator felt really bad... I thought it might have been a good lesson!  She herself said that she had been welcomed to our church, that everyone was really nice, and all!  So, we will not ever go back.  And, hopefully our investigator will come to our church again! 
This week we are going to also have a 3 Zone conference again!  Elder Kearon is coming for a mission tour, and so we will have an opportunity to meet him, talk to him, and listen to what he has to say, to help us as missionaries, and strengthen us! I am excited, it is going to be a good week.  Oh, and this week is the last week of the 12 week training program with Elder Ouimette, so there is the possibility of a transfer after this week!  He will not be a greenie any more! 

This week I learned about patience and perseverance.  As I said, I got to teach this weekend in French.  I was not expecting it, and surprised by the opportunity.  I struggled, a lot, to try and prepare myself.  Then it didn't work!  I failed!  But, I did not fail, I decided to just use the opportunity, to listen, to learn, and to get better.  I know what I need to focus on and where I am weak, and so I can now focus more and improve!  Friday night I was sad.  I got home, and felt like I had failed.  I gave more. Instead of giving up and just getting in bed early, I pulled out my Book of Mormon and read several chapters, focusing on missionaries and them teaching, prophets teaching, and asking questions.  I also read in Preach my gospel, focusing on what we would be teaching the next day, and on asking questions.  (All this reading was out loud and in French by the way) When my voice started hurting, and my brain stopped working I went to bed.  The next day I continued to study every single chance that I got! I did not want to do as badly as the day before!  I felt ready. I was patient, and listened.  And, I feel as though my prayer was answered!  I was able to speak, it was not perfect, but I was understood, and it came easier.  I was blessed with the spirit and the ability to help, to listen and answer.  So, never give up.  Not now, not ever!  When you need help, you will receive it, and until then, do your best!  I love the gospel, the simpleness, and the light it is to us all! 

I love being a missionary, and I love Christ! 

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, August 20, 2012

That is just the coolest thing ever!

(Austin's brother, Christian, is leaving the MTC for Bulgaria this week.  I am including part of his message to Christian because it shows his feelings about being a missionary. )

You will find that the closer you get to Sofia, the more people are going to start speaking Bulgarian! And, there are going to be a ton of people looking at you and reading your tag! Learn to love it, and be proud of the name you wear!

(Now on to the rest of his letter!)

Last week we had dinner with the Peterson family.  The Peterson dinner was very good, they are a really good family. I enjoy getting to be with/ around and working with them! (Brother Peterson is from Oregon!!!!)

 I had a great teach last night with a member. We talked a lot about the difference between Character and Personality or the who we are vs how we act. It was a discussion that all were having, and I just sat and listened. When it came time for the spiritual thought we went off the discussion and talked about how the who is very important, as well as the how we act. BUT most important, at least in my mind, is WHY?  Why do I do things, what is my reason? Do I do what I do because of Charity? Is it greed? Do I want to look good? Or do I want to help someone else? When we can focus on that, the rest should follow, shouldn't it? I mean, if I can always focus on Charity, I don't think I would lie, I wouldn't try to deceive anyone for sure! There is not the focus on self, on image, or anything, just on them. I thought that was really cool. And, it went with my thoughts last week as well, that God isn't working for himself. WE are HIS work! God loves us! That is just the coolest thing ever!

I love being a missionary, I get to just think about all these things all day! It is the best! I love serving others, and I hope that I can make a difference. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful that I can be forgiven, and be clean through His sacrifice! I know that He loves me very, very much. Find the light, there is nothing else.

I love you all!

Äldste Maxwell

Monday, August 13, 2012

It has really, really been a fast week!

It has really, really been a fast week. I feel as though I were sitting here just the day before yesterday and was writing you! but, no... I just don't know what happens to the time. It was not even that exciting of a week work wise. But, I did get to eat cow tongue, it was really good actually... though I stayed away from the ''skin''. It was too similar to my own tongue to think of eating that part. I had it with fufu. Fufu is an African dish, mashed potatoes mixed with potato flour, so it is gummy... and you pull off pieces (we were of course eating with our hands...), dip in the sauce, and swallow! (Notice: do not chew!) it was hard to not chew... and swallow! Wow, but it was a great experience! Ha ha, and that was probably one of the most exciting things that happened this week. Besides, possibly, the Gypsy man that tried to sell me and my comp drugs! It was a good week... the day that we were talked to by the Gypsies, we were also talked to by 4 other drunk people, including a drunk Jehovah's witness that was telling us how she was not as active as she wanted to be, and that she wanted to go back to church more! It was a crazy day! ha ha.   I love my mission! 

Christian, congrats on making it through the MTC! It is only better in the field! You will have real investigators, real people, and real concerns. There will be situations that arise which you never even thought would be possible! But, all is possible for us. God is with us, He will be with you. Do all that you are asked, and be happy! And, you will see lives change! I am excited for the people of Bulgaria!

Well, I feel as though I have already said some... but this I do want to say:  The work I do, the work we do as missionaries and members (for every member should be a missionary!) is a work of love. In Moses 1:39  (For behold, this is my work and my glory —to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.),  we learn that God's work is our salvation. In John 3:16 (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.), we learn again that God's work is our salvation but, we also learn the how and the why. I feel that often we talk of the how... but I also like to focus on the why. How: The Atonement, we are saved only through and by our Savior, Jesus Christ. Why: Love, more specifically Charity (the pure love of Christ)! God loves us sooooo much! And that is why He sent His son. In the world people work to get money, fame, a car, you know, worldly things. God, he works for us! He only wants our joy and strength. I know this is true, and that is why I am here. I know that God loves me, I have found that in my life! I just want others to have it too! That is why we serve! Love -  What better cause is there?

Share the love, pass the light, and be strong! I love being a missionary, I love you all! Have a great week!

Love ya!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, August 6, 2012

God knows what we are going through!

Well, this week I have really seen the blessings of faith, hard work, and dedication.  As well as the power of fasting. 

So, this week, I am beginning at Thursday, my companion got really sick.  He woke up and was throwing up the whole day.  I am personally convinced that it was the food we had eaten the night before!  It was good (duck!), but I don't think it agreed with him at all.... I know I was not in top shape, but I wasn't throwing up either!  So, all of Thursday we were in the apartment, and a lot of Friday as well, except for when we were in Stockholm at the mission home to have a training meeting.  So, in a seven day week we got two full days of nothing done.  (Number-wise, you should see how clean the apartment is now!

So, going into Sunday we were not doing too well with the mission goals for teaches... we were only half of the way there!  But, as we were fasting, and wanting to be diligent, we did all that we could to make it happen.  And it Did!  We were blessed with 3 investigators in church, all new! And then after church we were at a members house with one of the investigators, and after that we were able to go out and teach a lot of people on the subway! 

God knows what we are going through, and when we show him that we want to do our part, he makes it possible!  Even when it seems impossible!  I know that we are here to serve.  To serve God, our families, and our friends.  That should be everyone!!!!  I know this church is true, I know that Joseph Smith was called of God, and I know that I am here because God wants me to be here! 

Love you all!  Have a great week!
Äldste Maxwell