Monday, October 29, 2012

In my corner of the world....

In my corner of the world things are starting to get a bit chilly!  This morning when we woke up it was -10 Celsius... cold, but not too bad from what I have heard it will be in a couple months!  There is not much snow right now... just cold and everything is frozen.

.. as for the work things are warming up!  We are making progress with the investigators that we have now.  We were able to have some incredible lessons which opened the eyes of those we taught, and they want to know more!  I am super excited.  I hope that they accept the rest, and make an effort to come to church! 

I love the work, and I have noticed that the more we put in to the work, meaning time, thoughts, everything!  The more we receive back.  There is no better work in the world than being a missionary.  You see miracles daily, you have the spirit with you as a companion to teach and to testify, and you are privileged with a closer relationship  with our Father in Heaven!  I love being a missionary, and for all of you who read this, I challenge you to think about it!  Pray, seek your own answer and confirmation.  First, you need to know that all we teach in the Church is true!  Then, Seek God's will for you.  I promise that you will receive the answer you need.  I know this because I have tried myself, and I have received my own personal answer.  The gospel is true, God loves his children.  I love being a missionary.

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

I think I got the first snow!

First, I think I got the first snow of the year.. we got some good snow this past Tuesday!  And, since then the temperatures have been decently low... this morning when I got up, I checked the thermometer... -5 degrees!  (This is in Celsius, of course!) Everything is starting to get really cold and freeze together!  I also heard that any time from now to February is the time at which the northern lights can be seen!  I am hoping to see those soon!   So, that was the most excitement of the week...

My week has been good... slower, interesting, and full of trying to find more people here in Luleå to teach.. So we have been doing some tracting! We were finally able to get a hold of an investigator last week (last Monday) and we got to teach him! It went really well, he was super kind, still very positive, and had questions about baptism and what will happen before that... he is ready, and we just need to help him get to church and just do it! We also got a referral to another city, and got in contact with the person... he was super nice, positive, full of questions, and wants to read in the Book of Mormon! We are hoping to actually go up there to visit him and some members that live there... but it has to be planned out well.... otherwise it could just be a huge waste of time! I am hoping that everything works out... it would be really cool to be able to see Kiruna before going home! Anyways, the work is moving, people are kind, and I am loving being here!

One very important principle in the gospel is to never give up! I know it is hard... I find myself time and time again making the same mistakes... but every time I get back up, and try again! Do better, work harder, change your perspective, your desires. As we align our lives with the life and teachings of Christ we will no longer have desires to do wrong, and we will become strong! I know that the atonement is there for us, that it is a path by which we return to our Father. I know the Church is true. I love the gospel and my Savior. I love being a missionary.

Have a great week and do one more thing to be a better missionary!
Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, October 15, 2012

That is missionary work!

Still no flight plans!? I was talking to another Elder in my group and he already knows his! He has known for almost a month now! He says they were the ''projected'' plans, and not yet official, but I am pretty sure that they will be finalized soon if not already done! He knew where his stops were, times, everything! I should have been better friends with the Couple Missionaries in the office, and called them every now and then to chat! And now there is a new couple in the office I have not even met! I can't get anything from them! Well, I have some other friends... maybe they know something!

The press-conference, about the change in mission age, was really good! I saw that Saturday, it was after the morning session and after the ''world report''! we were just there still, and had to listen! I was super excited!  There truly is an up-swing in the work right now. There are more people prepared to hear, and more of the members are taking an active role in the missionary work! I am so glad that I get to be here to help out in the harvest and the distribution of the greatest fruit and ever!

A lot of what I had been studying recently was the idea and whole concept of conversion. I got a lot of the studies from the autobiography of Parley P. Pratt.  I was impressed by his complete devotion and focus on the work that he had. There was not ever anything that stopped him from the work. When he was needed, he went! When he was called, the Lord provided! I want to be like that. The most important work that we can be doing in this life is the work of the Lord. It is rewarding, and whether or not it makes sense, you will never truly be lacking in this life! All that is most desirable will be given, all that is vital, will be yours! That does not mean that all times are easy, it doesn't mean that there is no suffering, no hunger. But with faith, nothing but the will of God will be done, and when you die, you know that your work has been completed, and move on to the next step with confidence and Joy!

This past Sunday was a District Conference (Norrland is a district, not a stake). Elder Adler of the third quorum of the seventy and his wife were there. On Sunday, he said one thing that I thought was very interesting. He said that there is nowhere in the scriptures that the word fun comes up. We are not looking for fun in this life, fun will destroy you! I was startled by this, I like to have fun! But he clarified, we are to have Joy! Fun itself is destructive because it distracts us from all that is most important. The world teaches us to have fun. We are told that we are to have Joy. Joy is a true, virtuous, pure, and lasting happiness! Joy is being able to partake of the fruits of the tree of life, of being worthy to enter the presence of god! That is why we are here, and that is what we seek after! That is missionary work! I love this work! I love being here! I love serving others! I hope that you all have a great week, can find true joy, and become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this lies true joy.

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Happy Birthday from Sweden

The swedish birthday song is as follows:

Ja må hon lever, (x3)
ut i hundrade år!
Javisst, ska hon leva, (x3)
ut i hundrade år!

Och när hon har levat, (x3)
ut i hundrade år!
Ja, då ska hon skjutsas, (x3)
i en skottkärra fram!

''Ett fyrfäldigt leve för födelsedags barnet!'' (one person yells this line)
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!! (every one yells! (make sure it is four!))

You will have to look up the tune... I can't write it out.. and simple pronunciation help is as follows:
J=y (Ja = ya)
Å=oe (må=moe)
U=oo (ut=oot (like it toot))
A=a as in austin
I=ee (as in meet)
skottkärra= 'skote-sherra'
skjutsas= 'shute-sas' (These two, ignore above pronunciation, read 'x' as if reading english!)
last tip, say every single letter! Don't skip anything! (hundrade=hoon-dra-dé)

Maybe not really simple, but very simple! As simple as I can make it! And, an afternote... this is singing to a girl... you change the subject if it were to be a boy or to be plural! =P (Hon=she han=he de=they (de is said 'dome'))

Here is a link to the tune:  The Swedish Happy Birthday Song

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The "Companion Quiz"!

Emma (Austin's sister) makes up great quizes to see how well her brothers know their companions. Here is Austin's quiz about his current companion:

  1. What is your companion's full name?
  2. Where was your companion born?
  3. What career do they want to persue?
  4. What color is their toothbrush?.... and please tell me they do brush their teeth ;)
  5. Did they play any sports in high school? and what sports would that be?
  6. How many, if any, siblings do they have?
  7. Are they cute? if so, feel free to mention me. haha, just kidding! They are kind of old and that would be awkward :P
  8. Is your companion allergic to anything?
  9. Do they have any habits that are annoying? ... or maybe you just prefer not to dwell on thoughts like that :)
  10. When is their birthday?
  11. What is their favorite color?
Austin's Response:
Man... I don't know about this quizz stuff.... not sure how well I know Elder Day yet... here goes!

1. Derek Ryan Day
2. Born in Utah! (lived in same house his whole life)
3. Wants to be a insurance company consultant... an Actuary is what it is called!
4. Blue and white I think... yes, he does!
5. He was a runner. Cross country. Really good at it too!!! (Went to nationals a couple times!)
6. He has nine siblings. He is #8 of the 10 kids!
7. Cute.... well.... I don't know! (he says a three letter word works... ''duh!'', but that was what he said!)
8. No... he is not allergic to anything!
9. One habit I find a little annoying is driving close to the right side of the road... I am always on edge! =S =P
10. February 17th i think... no, it was the 15th... =*( close though =)
11. Red! ... dang, he said ''Orange by far.'' So... maybe I never really found that out before... *Shrug* =P

Monday, October 8, 2012

Let all of your friends know how awesome the missionaries are!

I have loved conference so-far!  It is incredible! It started with a bang, and the ending (Sunday morning session thus far) was no disappointment! I really loved the conference, it really brought the spirit, confirmed my findings and personal resolves that I have made recently in my study of the prophets and the scriptures. I really love the scriptures, and the blessing the truth is in my life!  Yes, conference is like Christmas for us missionaries... it is one of the most anticipated happenings! That and transfers... one spiritual, the other more worldly/timely.

I have seen that the saying is true, wherever there is the most good you will also find the most bad or wrong. I don't think that any family is safe, I doubt that there is anyone not affected by it! The world is a challenging and turbulent place! I expect that it will continue to become darkened and unclear. However, with the spirit there is no darkness that will not be penetrated, there is nothing that will be hidden from us. I know that we will not go lost, as long as we have the spirit with us. Sure, there are commandments in the gospel! They are blessings! They are the steps we take, the foundation upon which we are lifted above the mists of darkness and are allowed to see around in light, peace, and wonderful clarity! 

Take what was impressive in conference, and make it lasting... DO IT!  It is in the doing that we receive the fruits of our labors. And, let all of your friends know how awesome the missionaries are, you got a great list of things in conference that we can help with! I am also quite positive that there are even more! So, help the missionaries, by letting them help you and those who are near and dear to all of you! Seek the guidance of the spirit, and fear not! The Lord is hurrying the work. Lets do it!
 I love you all, I love being a missionary, and I love the gospel!

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, October 1, 2012

Prepare to listen to the words of love and guidance!

I have not seen any snow here yet... though it should be coming soon!!!! I think it would be great to have some for conference!

My new area feels mostly like country... though all the work we do is in the cities... right now a lot of the work we are doing is in neighboring smaller cities... Boden and Älvsbyn especially... it would be pretty hard tracting out in the woods... though a lot of our members live there! This week for example we got to do some service for a member harvesting potatoes! It was fun, a lot of work... cold, and a great experience! It made me miss home a bit though... Oregon actually. I just like the farm/ country feel! French is getting better and better... found some more people who speak french, and the ones who we are in contact with are already speaking mostly french with me! It is awesome! I have preach my gospel, the book of Mormon, pamphlets, and a French/Swedish dictionary! I am set! I sometimes wish I had some type of grammar book... but this is working great!   Yes, the people who are the most positive are usually immigrants... though there are some Swedish people also getting baptized! There are a lot of French speaking Africans from the Congo up here! It is really fun. One this week said that he was my ''Grand Frére!'' (because he was a year older than me!) ha ha, it was sweet!

One more experience this week that is notable, I tried surströmming for my first time. It was terrible, smelling! Taste-wise it was actually quite good! Though at the same time it was quite a bit of work to clean the little fish and get out the meat... awesome experience, and surprisingly good taste. Though not sure it was so good I will ever go and buy it on my own! 

Yesterday we were able to go and teach one of our Swedish investigators. He was a really cool guy, younger (mid-thirties) and a really deep thinker. I was impressed with his insight into human nature, the importance of Christ, and the example that Christ was to all mankind. I was really impressed in the lesson, when we were reading in the scriptures out of the teachings of Christ,  he took the time to listen, and ponder the words of Christ, and to then to apply it to himself! I was personally also impressed when I felt the spirit enter, as the section was read. There is so much power in the teachings of Christ!  He really teaches that all may understand, and that those who are ready will always be able to receive more! I know that the church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and the truth. He is the path back to our Father. I love being a missionary. It truly gives me joy. I love my Savior, and I want to only do what is right in his eyes.
 Have a great week, and prepare to listen to the words of love and guidance for us from our Father this weekend!

Love you all, have a great week!
Äldste Maxwell