Monday, June 2, 2014

Going to finish this marathon with a sprint!

Bulgarian BBQ, missionary style!
We had a little barbecue last preparation day with the other Elders to celebrate memorial day. Not the best barbecue (our food got a little ashy) but it was still tasty!
This week was pretty good our investigators were all pretty busy and we didn't get to see them much but one of them that we recently started teaching came to church and he really liked it and he is progressing very well!
Also this week we were luck to have an East Europe Priesthood training meeting broadcast so we traveled into Varna to watch that there as we don't have the equipment here and plus we are a part of the Varna branch because we are only a group. The meeting was very good there were a few seventies and Elder Bednar there and the French guy from the presiding bishopric (I cant remember his name) it was really neat how they ran it based on the needs and concerns of the area and they used input from everyone (we could send in questions and comments) I learned a lot and it was good for the members that came!
We also had a ton of rain this week we had a couple days of straight pouring rain and that was a bit of a hamper for us in finding new people but we were blessed and were able to find a number of people, one guy we even were able to have a lesson with at a bus stop under the cover there! So just like you said the Lord will bless us when we give it our all, even if it is in a way that we don't expect! We've got a good week in front of us too as we've got a lot of lessons already set up and our investigators are a bit more free too so we're going to finish this marathon with a sprint!
The district here will hopefully have a  couple baptisms this month and the members are doing well, we've had the third hour three weeks in a row now (only with two or three of the members) but that is better than not having it at all! I can't really think of anything else that is new or really sticks out my companion is doing well I really want to help him become a better missionary than I am/was and so I try to give him advice and such a lot ( he may be getting a little annoyed with me but it is for his own good and I try to do it in a constructive way) but we get along alright and work through any concerns we have so it is all good!
Also, so you know next week I probably won't write because I will be traveling into Sofia and then there usually is an evening of stuff for departing missionaries but you will hear from me soon enough! I am excited to see you all and to give you all hugs, one request that I do have is that there will be some cheerio treat (or at least the ingredients) at home, marshmallows don't really exist here and I've just been craving some cheerio treat. But enough about that!

Love you all lots! Have a  great week!!
Elder Maxwell

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I got to play the piano...and it was okay.

We had an activity this week where we taught how to start doing family history.  The resources are pretty limited here but there is still a lot that the members can do and most of them that came had never done anything so we helped them figure out what they can do to get going on that. Hopefully it was helpful for them! And a few less actives came so it was good for them at least. I was a bit dissapointed in our investigators though, only one came and the rest flaked on us, but not too much you can do about that.
Other than that, our week was good, the weather was great  (very hot and only a few thunderstorms) so I'm starting up my tan.  I've got some pretty good lines already, especially on my neck, as the lower half is white and then above the collar I've got a great tan. It'll be pretty obvious when I'm going around with a t-shirt!
We found some cool people this week, although sadly one lady we had started meeting with, we only had a couple meetings with her before her husband asked us to not come over anymore.  He is aethiest and would listen but he didn't have the desire that his wife had.  I am sure they both felt the spirit and someday he may remember that and want to learn more.
At church I got to play the piano! Nate keep up that practice and it will serve you well. And it was okay, I used the simplified book and was able to get through a few songs so I am grateful that I at least have a basic knowledge of the piano but I could be much better!
We had the zone leader come and do some exchanges with us this week and it was good, we had a great day! Overall, it was a good week and hopefuly they will only get better! 

Have a great week and keep being awesome!! 
Love you! 
Elder Maxwell

Monday, May 19, 2014

I'm doing well and I'm happy!

I feel like May is a pretty busy month here, they have at least one or two holidays or concerts or something a day here, today we had to go to the internet zala to write because it is the holiday of the book and the library wont be open till later then Saturday, there is the holiday for the alphabet, plus there are elections going on so there are a ton of political groups doing campaigns and such everywhere. Kind of a crazy month,

The week was a pretty average one for us, the weather was a pain though. It would be cloudy in the morning and then it would get super hot or it would start sunny then, out of no where, a pouring thunderstorm.  So, we basically have never been dressed or prepared for the weather this week. We didn't really find many new people this week, they were kind of like the weather one day really interested and the next not showing up to meetings or not being interested. But thats just how it is, we will work hard and strive to continually improve and we'll find those who are prepared.

We had the zone training this week and it was good, it was pretty refreshing being on the receiving end instead of the training so that was nice. Although as it was my last zone meeting all, the Elders in the zone from my group had time to share our testimonies with everyone. I can remember my trainer doing that at the end of my first transfer and it seems like it wasn't that long ago. Where have those years gone!

Other than that not too much new from this week I'm doing well and I'm happy!

Love you all, Have a great week!!!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, May 12, 2014

It was good talking with you a bit.

Not too much new since I talked with you all yesterday, it was really good to see you all and I am still amazed at how much everyone has grown it is like they are different people but also the brothers and sisters that I have always known! It was good talking with you a bit.

So, I don't really have too much to say about the week, I guess I could tell you a little bit about the guy that we gave the baptismal date to. So last Sunday, on our way to church, we left a little bit early so we could talk to people on the way there and get everything set up and we had just barely left the apartment when we started talking to this guy. He asked us who we were and what we were doing so we quickly explained and invited him to come to church with us and he agreed and came! And he really liked it! It was fast Sunday and he was enjoying the testimonies and he got up and shared how he was looking for the truth and he was glad that he had run into us that morning. So we met with him during the week and began teaching him and he really wants a change in his life to leave behind his old vices and such and he has been looking for the right church and every time we meet he shares how he feels the spirit, how he wants to learn more! Sadly the other Elders are going to continue teaching him, as he lives in their area, but I am sure there are many others who are prepared just like him to learn and accept the gospel so all we have to do is find them and I'm sure as we work hard and do what we are supposed to the Lord will place these people in our path!

Oh, one thing from last night, yesterday was Shumen Day so last night they had a big concert just down the street from our apartment and they were launching huge fireworks off from the roof of the building across from us it was cool but a little bit challenging to get to sleep!

Thank you for your wonderful examples and I hope that you had a great Mother's Day!! Love you lots!!

Elder Максуел

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Serving with him makes me feel really old!

So I finally get to write!! They have a lot of holidays this time of the year, 2 weeks ago with Easter, last week 2 days for Labor day and this week 2 days for Georgiov den, so its been a little bit harder finding people since the city has been deserted for the last 6 days, plus we have had a lot of rain! On Sunday actually (crazy story), we were going to find a less active to try and have a lesson with a contact (up on a hill on the other side of the city) and it was cloudy when we set out luckily I had grabbed my umbrella because it started raining, then it started hailing, then the hail got harder and it was huge like almost gumball sized and then it turned to pounding rain and the hill we were going up turned into a rushing river!  Needless to say, we got soaked even with our umbrellas but we found the contact so it's all good and the only bad part is that my companions shoes were moldy yesterday morning because he didn't dry them off at all.  So, there's a little story for you. 

My new area is pretty nice, it is very calm here in Shumen and the people are very nice. Although, there are tons of Muslims and people of Turkish descent so I've been trying to pick up a little Turkish but it's kind of a weird language and I can only say a few things. Muslims are very nice but they don't really have much of an interest to learn more about Christ. The city is pretty small and our area is about the size of one or two of the neighborhoods that were in my area in Sofia (my area in Sofia was probably double the size of the whole city of Shumen if not more!) And the water tastes a bit weird here, kind of like the Utah water, but I'll get used to it. 

Church was interesting here, there were only 13 of us at church and that is with 4 missionaries and 3 investigators. I got to bless the sacrament and conduct the music and next Sunday I may have to play the piano and give a talk! The members here are nice and I am excited to get to work with them. Also church here usually is only the first two hours because most of the members will only stay that long and last week we also got to teach the lesson in second hour so I am keeping busy in church on Sundays! We have a room that is rented where we meet it is actually pretty big and there is even a downstairs basement with a couple rooms so our building is pretty nice!

My new companion is Elder Johnson.  He is from Payson, Utah and the oldest of five boys. he is a good missionary he has been out for a year now. He is cool, he likes to read and has a lot of ideas for what he might be in the future but he's not really sure yet. He went to BYU for a bit before his mission (after I was already gone) and overall serving with him makes me feel really old. 
I will see you all on Sunday.  Sorry for the delay for this letter but I had no choice, nothing has been open for the last few days, but better late than never right!
Have a great week! Love you!!
Elder Максуел
(there you go Ben now you are more unique)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

St George's Day‏!

It was a disappointing start today when Katie got a message from the mission home in Bulgaria that we wouldn’t be hearing from Christian until Wednesday.  What’s up with that?  So, I did a little digging and here is what I have discovered.

He and the rest of Bulgaria are taking off today and tomorrow to celebrate St George, his victory over the dragon, and all the other wonderful things he may have accomplished so long ago. 

 According to Wikipedia:

St George’s Day (Гергьовден, Gergyovden) is possibly the most celebrated name day in Bulgaria.  It is a public holiday that takes place on 6 May each year. A common ritual is to prepare and eat a whole lamb, which is an ancient practice possibly related to Slavic pagan sacrificial traditions and the fact that St George is the patron saint of shepherds. It is also believed to be a magical day when all evil spells can be broken. It was believed that the saint helps the crops to grow and blesses the morning dew, so early in the morning they walked in the pastures and meadows and collected dew, washed their face, hands and feet in it for good luck and even in some rural parts of Bulgaria it was a custom to roll in it naked.

So, since Elder Maxwell is serving in rural Bulgaria now, we just have to assume that he and his companion today are getting ready to roll in the dew tomorrow and soak up all that good luck for the coming year.  Then they can go visit some folks and eat a whole lamb with them.  Right?!      : )

Happy St George’s Day Everyone!


Monday, April 28, 2014

So this is it, the final transfer! Weird!

So this is it, the final transfer!  Weird! I am going to be in Shumen, I have gone there before on exchanges.  It's a pretty little city although, they only have a group there so it'll be my first group city! I am going to be serving with Elder Johnson and I don't really know much about him, just that he's from Utah and that's about it. Next week I can get you some updates on that.

This week was good, we had one of our new investigators commit to baptism yesterday so that was really cool although they haven't accepted a date yet they felt that it was still too early but they are incredibly prepared and have a strong desire to follow Christ!

We also were able to get in to a less actives house that we have been trying to meet for a long time and that was really good. It will take some time with him to get him back fully active but he is very nice and still loves the church he just has a few concerns and hasn't been in a long time and feels like he won't know anyone and is to old to make new friends, but we will see about that!
Wow, it's crazy how fast time flies, and I'm going to finish - giving it all I've got!  It'll be good in Shumen, I'm very excited!

So yeah it's exciting, I love you and hope that you have a great week!
Elder Maxwell