Monday, November 26, 2012

It is quite the experience!

We have been having warm weather so far this November... way too warm! I have heard though that this December is going to compensate for it!   It just barely started snowing a little again this morning. Last week we had a wedding on Thursday... it was really nice, and fun.  We did get some pie on Saturday as a late Thanksgiving... it was good, and our members here take care of us! 

Yes, our days here are very short... basically over before we really get started! Especially with clouds... it is just dark all day! It is really interesting... and it can play some mean tricks with your mind! Just imagine sitting and eating a nice warm dinner, anticipating going to bed, and then you realize it is just lunch, you still have to go out and work!   It is quite the experience!

This week has been really good. We have a good pool of investigators, and we have had a lot of good work done! I got my new companion, he is really fun, and really cool. Plus, his Swedish is very good... he is able to help in the teaching and I do not have to translate to English! I am excited. These next couple weeks are going to be amazing!
The thought for this week is that when you work hard,  when you do your best,  when you have faith that there will be progress, it will happen! It will come from seemingly nowhere sometimes, there will be blessings falling from... well, who knows? God does. Not me! It is incredible to see and to experience. I love being a missionary and getting to learn the lesson that: we do not know! God does not work as we work, His ways are not our ways, they may very well not make any sense to us as people, but it does to Him, and they are as they should be! We just get to take part! I am always amazed by the knowledge, foresight, and pure love of our Heavenly Father. I know He loves me, and I know that He loves these people. I also know that it is not something only missionaries can learn! Go, do what you can! Every person has different talents and abilities! Use them! And you will see many people blessed, many will come unto Christ, and we will find true Joy! Missionary work is the best work around, I love being a missionary! I know the church is true, and I know that it is the only way we will find happiness in this life!

Love you all! Have a great week!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, November 19, 2012

I am thankful for...

 We are having transfers this week!  I will be staying here in Luleå!  I get to ''freeze to death'' in the North! (A note of clarification: when a missionary finishes their mission, it is affectionately refered to as dying) I am super excited!  I will be getting a Britt as my companion now.  Elder Tomlinson!  This is going to be fun!

This week,  in our ward, we had the primary program.  It was really incredible!  There are about 15 children in the primary here... (a lot for the 55 member ward! ) They did incredibly well, and I really felt the spirit! Plus, there were the really young children giving talks, bearing testimony, and singing!  I loved it! 

I really don't know what language I am dreaming in anymore... I think it is  a blending of all the languages that I use... oh! I started learning Persian too!  =P  I found that with the Book of Mormon, I can use the names and teach myself the alphabet... and from there I just have to have one of my investigators help me with the other letters, and then some of the basic root words and conjugations... then I can get the rest!  =P  But, that comes on the side, for fun... before bed and such, the rest of the time I read in Swedish or French!

The week of Thanksgiving!  It is going to be a good week!  I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to be here as a missionary and serve others around me here in the beautiful land of Sweden.  I speak of Sweden for I am here, and I know personally that the Lord has great hopes for this people. I know as well that other countries are also important... but I am a little biased... =P.  I love Sweden and its people.  They are kind, and generous. They like to help others when they can.  They are an incredibly honest people.  I am truly grateful to be here and to learn from them.  I hope that the blessings of heaven may fall upon this people as they open their hearts and embrace the gospel of Christ.  I am grateful for my Savior and the sacrifice He offered that I may be free from my sins, that I can be forgiven!  I am thankful for my parents and the examples they have been for me.  I am thankful for my siblings, they are my best friends.  I am thankful for all of my friends, for their good influences on me, and their examples.  I really needed them, and I am here because a lot of them believed in me.  I am thankful for my Father in Heaven, that He has given me so very much.  I am thankful for this world and the miraculous opportunities it gives each and everyone of us!  There are so many things to be grateful for!  Find them, name them, and thank God for them in prayer.  As we do so, we will find greater joy in life, and a greater willingness to share.  I know the gospel is true, I love being a missionary.  

Have a great week!
Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, November 12, 2012

We have had a good week!

We have had a good week, it has been challenging, but exciting and super awesome! I hope to have more weeks like this that follow! I am super excited! First, early in the week we got some snow again! Then, on a clear night we got to see the dancing lights of the North! I will try to attach some of the pictures I got... not to many of the pictures were super good... and it was hard, the lights really move/dance and change quickly! (Plus, each good picture took 4 minutes to take!    Anyways, I hope you enjoy! They were incredible! I hope to see them again before I go! Like I said, the pictures were not the best... I will try to get more!

The Northern Lights - you can see a little bit of the green light at the bottom.

French is coming along! Two days ago we were at a wedding, there were a lot of people there we are teaching, and a lot of them speak French as well! There was one man in particular that I got to talk to who was really interested, and surprised that I could speak French! (When we came in to the reception, we were shown to a table, and the guy leading us we had taught before (in French) so he was talking in French, and one of the others we walked past was really surprised! He came and talked with me later, hopefully we get to teach him too!) So, all in all my French is far from perfect, but I can teach and be understood! It is a miracle and amazing! I love it!

Investigators are making progress, we have some baptismal dates, but need more of our investigators coming to church! I hope that we can continue to find more and teach! As well as that they come to church, because that is really important!

Weather is less desirable, though warmer! I would much rather have snow right now than a lot of rain and soggy and wet... cold is easy to fix, wet is easy too, but takes more time, and just gets annoying! (I still love the rain, just not for missionary work! ) There is no snow now... hoping for more, but we will see! Here the sun sets at like 3.30, dark dark by four... I remember yesterday my companion was antsy to get out of the church, he was thinking it was like five or six! (it was 2.00! ) When it is cloudy here it is just dark the whole time! 
We were teaching an investigator last night, and we got to the topic of how to find true happiness, which lead to giving to others. The investigator brought up a really good point, when you feel like you are in need of something, or want to get something, you must first give it away! If you want to have money, give to someone else. If you want more food, give to others! If you want to be loved, you must first love! If you want to be happy, make someone else happy. Everything that is lasting and truly important will come from inside... and giving is how we know that we really already have! If we want to feel loved, we must love others. As we do so, we realize, and feel the love from within, from our Father above. I really like this thought and it rang true to me. As we give of ourselves, it is not that we are dividing what we have, but multiplying it for others! We do not need to fear poverty, hunger, hatred, or anything! We have the promise of God, that we will be given all that we need as we do all that has been asked of us. I know that I will never be lacking when I turn myself to the Lord. I know that He loves me and knows my needs, and I know that everything will be well when I focus on Him!

I love being a missionary. I love this work and the time I have here to give to others, the opportunity to share what I have, and to learn more about myself, my faith, and my strength. I love the gospel, it is so pure, and true! It brings joy to every person who will give it a chance. I know my Savior lives, and I know that He is pleased with the work I am doing. Go and do. Others will see and follow. Learn, love, live, and invite! Have a great week, and do a little more! I will be doing the same.

Love you all!
Äldste Maxwell

Monday, November 5, 2012

The work is moving forward!

Well, it has warmed up a lot since last time... we have no snow, it has been raining... and still in the positives. Hopefully we get more snow soon, but most people think it will be a while yet before we get some real snow... we will see!

 As for teaching we are able to do a good amount of it... the majority of people we have to teach right now live ½-1 hour away from here... which is really a problem because there is no way to get them all to church! So, we are doing a lot of door knocking here to try and find more people who would be interested and want to learn! So, we are currently doing doors... though it is not as easy here... doors are port-coded, people are more Swedish, and less ''believeing'' (according to them!) But we are having our miracles, and staring to get some really good support from the branch! The work is moving forward!

It is a hard time in the world and we are always surrounded by people and forces that want to make bad seem good and the good seem bad... usually making it look like a restriction of freedom! (Which is completely WRONG!) Rules (commandments specifically) are designed to bring us more freedom! Our challenge as members, is to avoid that deception, hold on to the true and eternal perspective through the eyes of the spirit, and help others to open their eyes and learn to see things as they truly are! We have to be 100% on our game, on the team, no holding back! It would otherwise be like trying to jump off a diving board without wanting to leave it completely! (You can imagine the resulting pain, loss, failure, and hopefully lesson learned!) Trust in God! He really does know what he is talking about! And, the only way to truly know is to Do It! That simple. I love the simplicity of the gospel!

No, we did nothing for Halloween... there was a ''Luleå in lights'' thing in the city... they had a ''speak box'' that did a light show and told a story... it was awesome! (3-d show depicting the story!) then they just had a lot of lights around the city... not too many Halloween parties. All saints day is a bigger celebration, they put lights on all of the graves in the cemeteries and remember those who have passed on before them... the graveyards were very beautiful with all of the lights! 

Have a great week everyone! Enjoy life, help others and let your light shine for the world!

Love y'all!
Äldste Maxwell