Monday, March 25, 2013

This week was pretty awesome!

This week was pretty awesome, on Tuesday we went up to Sofia for a training meeting and that was really good.  We learned more about how we can set good goals and be accountable for our work. Plus Sofia is always good!
We met with the girl from Albania and a few of her friends from her journalism class and basically they wanted to do a documentary on us and follow us around all day with cameras.  I asked President but he said it was against church policy so, we can't do that but we met some really cool people and the girl said pretty much everyone in their class was looking online at  We handed out several Book of Mormons and a couple of them came to a branch activity we had on Saturday and one even came to church!  So if anything we got some good exposure as a church from it but sadly we cant help them with their project.
Also this week we met with the one lady and her daughter, who we had given the Book of Mormon to, and the daughter has already read more than 260 pages of it on her own, and she only is 12!  And the mother says she already believes it's true and they even have shared it with several of their friends and given them our number!  So this week we hope to get a baptismal date with them and meet with some of their friends!  
Also we are teaching a temple prep class because there are a couple members preparing to go to the temple for the first time in April and it is really neat to see how excited they are to be going, one lady is even doing a bunch of family history research so she can take some names with her to the temple!!
It has picked up a bit with the school being back in and we do try very hard to work with the members it is a little harder with such a small branch but the whole mission has being working on that for the last couple months.  Members are such a help in lessons I'm excited to go out with the missionaries in Victor when I get back! 
So for conference, what they do is they record it in Sofia then they send out copies to all the branches.  We will probably start watching it next week and probably the week after too, they usually just watch it on Sundays instead of church here. And yes, we do get copies of the Ensign. 
I have stayed pretty well on my mission so far no serious or bad sickness and it's all good, my companion though might have eaten something bad he's had to take a lot of bathroom breaks the last couple days, but it's not anything too bad.
So for bikes, there aren't any bikes in the Bulgaria, Sofia mission so we either walk or take a bus if it is to far, but it's not too bad.
For Easter they have "velik den" which means "great day", they have it towards the end of April or beginning of May something like that the only thing that I have really heard that they do is 40 days before velik den they start their post or fast and they don't eat milk products or meat but not too many people actually do that and then they all usually go to the church and light a candle or something on the actual holiday. Other than that I haven't heard too much.

Have a great week Everyone!! I love you lots!!
Старейшина Максуел

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weird, I didn't even think about that!

My companion, he actually doesn't even know how to play the accordion. (see picture from last week)  He found it in an antique shop last transfer.  He figured out how to play a song from star wars on it but that's about it.

I don't think we have time change here because I don't remember setting any clocks, weird I didn't even think about that.

So this week, we had the Zone Leaders come down and go on exchanges with us and that was really good and the tracting has been going very well still.  We have a good base of people we can go and visit almost every night now and we are staying really busy!

I've been trying all the different kinds of bread they have at the bakeries and they have a lot of really good stuff and some of the things that I didn't really like at the beginning are way good now although I very much am looking forward to eating a real burger with real meat and bacon and barbecue sauce when I get back.  Hopefully my taste buds aren't permanently altered to where I cant enjoy a real burger. But that would be basically impossible, burgers are just way too good.

We had some really good lessons this week, we had one with a girl from Albania that attends the American University and she brought a friend that is here from Blagoevgrad and they both were very interested.  We are meeting with them again tomorrow and they might even bring more friends! And one of our former investigators that we still see on the street and talk to said that she saw that on Facebook the girl had been posting about the Book Of Mormon!

It got a bit colder this week and we even had some snow falling one night as we finished tracting but it didn't stick or anything.

One guy that we had met with and were going to meet with again called us and canceled because he was leaving to Greece for work but then later in the week we thought we saw him on the other side of the street and so I quick called him and it totally was him and he straight up lied about where he was. I wish that people would just be honest and open and if they don't want to learn more or meet to just say it not lie to us. But everyone has their agency and I can't control what they do.

But on the up side, there was one lady we gave a book of Mormon to last Sat. as we were tracting and she was really skeptical and all that it was free and all we really want is people to read it.  This week we stoped by to see if she had been reading and she said that she had and was in the middle and that she really liked it and also her daughter, she would read it with her and she really liked it and was always asking to read it!! So this week we will meet with them, because she didn't have time then, and she also said she would have some friends that were interested in the book there too! So this week has been really good and we have a lot of really good potential investigators!

So your average Bulgarian is usually white with black hair (Viktor Krum, from the Harry Potter movies is a pretty good general example of a Bulgarian, but of course there are skinnier and taller or something like that people too). There aren't really blond people, except for a few, but they are usually not from Bulgaria (at least ancestor wise). And yeah, I am taller than most people but there are a few people that are tall like me too and I've seen some really tall people but they are pretty rare. So over 90% of the country is Bulgarian orthodox and the large percentage of them, maybe, will go to the church to light a candle every now and then but that's about it. At the American university there are very few Americans, I have met one at least, aside from professors the majority are from countries like Kazakhstan and Macedonia and other kinds of Asian European countries and then a few Bulgarians mostly they attend because it is cheaper and they can transfer to other schools afterward.

I love you all!
Elder Maxwell

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I am glad for all I learn every single day!!

My companion, Elder Breeze, with his accordian.

This week was really good.  We had a lot of success tracting this week, more than I've had in basically my whole mission (for tracting of course). But the American university had a winter break this week and most of our investigators were pretty busy, but we still had a few pretty good lessons!

We found one new guy that also is looking very promising and has a real sincere desire to learn.  It was a little confusing in our first lesson with him though because for some reason or other whenever he means yes, he says "ne".  For example, I would teach about prophets and say that they receive revelation from God and he would say "ne" but after a little I was able to work it out to where I could understand what he really meant!

The district here is really good we are a small district and we all work hard so it's really good! So yeah it's all going really well I love the people here and I am glad for all I learn every single day!!

I Love you all!!
Старейшина Максуел
Christian's advice to Nate:  "It has been really good in Bulgaria!  Missions are so good!  I hope you are getting ready right now to serve a mission by reading your scriptures every day at least for 10 min before you read your other books!"

Monday, March 4, 2013

I really love it here so far!

Time on the mission goes by incredibly fast, at least when you look back at it, a day can seem to take forever though but it is still good!

The new area is very cool, it is a smaller city and it basically is made up of two universities ( one of them is american!) so there are lots of young people which is very cool! We're up in the mountains and it is very pretty and it is starting to warm up so the weather has been very nice, we're not up quite high enough in the mountains for there to be snow.

The branch is really cool from what I have seen so far, it's a pretty small branch but there are some great members! We have a few really cool, young investigators, one of them is a boxer and he lived in America for a bit.  We also are teaching his fiance and his friend! Our apartment is nice it's a lot better than my older one, so I'm pretty happy about that!

My new companion, Elder Breeze, is pretty cool.  He is a lot like my last companion: he is barely taller than me, again, he plays trombone and loves music especially jazz.  He is from Indianapolis, Indiana and he has been in country for two months so he still is pretty fresh, but he is a great elder and he is fun to work with! For my district there are four of us: me and my companion and then Sister Frame, from my MtC group, and Sister Christensen from California, it's pretty small and it's weird not having other elders besides my companion but it's pretty good.

The bulgarian bread is pretty good but you've got to get it from the bakery when it's still fresh, the gevrek is pretty good ( they are kind of like bagles) and kifla is always good especially with chocolate, of course there's the banitsa and kashkavalka with the cheese and they also have some pretty good roll things with sausage they have a lot of different names for those though!

Blagoevgrad is way awesome, the people here are a lot nicer than in Burgas, at least in general on the streets, so contacting goes pretty well! I was tracting this week and ran into this one crazy guy that our MTC teacher told us a story about when he was on his mission over 5 years ago!  We sat and talked with him for a bit and I got a picture with him! I also taught English class for the first time ( there wasn't enough in Burgas for me and my companion to teach) and it is pretty fun and new!

Oh and this week, they had a couple holidays: Baba Marta and yesterday was their kind of Fourth of July! Baba Marta or grandma march is on the first of March and it basically is to celebrate the coming of spring.   For weeks before, everyone is selling these martinitsi on the street which are braclets of red and white string then on the first of March they just give them to everyone they meet and wish them health and luck and such. Then you have to wear them until you see a stork or buds on a tree then you take them off and hang them up in the tree! It is pretty cool, everyone was way happy and I got a few martenitsi from some people we met! So next year you'll have to give it a try! Thats about it from this week, Blagoevgrad is pretty cool and I really love it here so far!

Have an Awesome week! Love to you all!
Elder Maxwell