Monday, April 22, 2013

We had amazing weather!

My week was pretty good, we had amazing weather - it's not too hot yet but it no longer is cold and all the trees are getting their leaves and everything is growing so it is very nice! Last P-day we rented some bikes and took them up this path up the mountain to this one park, it was very nice to be able to ride a bike after so long and plus the nature and mountains here are very beautiful. That is definitely a benefit of being in a smaller city there is a lot more nature!

We had some very good lessons this week also and I feel like we are making some real progress with some of our investigators and then also some of our investigators I feel are just stuck and it gets a little frustrating with them when they don't come to church and they aren't reading or praying.

Teaching for me is always a learning experience whether it is how to keep the doctrine simple enough or simply learning how to better follow the spirit. It is way cool that you are having the youth already practice because there really isn't any better way to learn than that! We also found some very cool new people this week while we were tracting.

A cool experience actually from last night while we were tracting: we were having a lot of success and we found several people who were interested to learn more and we will return to them tonight.  Close to the time when we were about to head home, we were finishing up a fode (street or apartment, maybe?)  and one guy I was talking to invited us in and took us into the main room where his friend was and told us that he already knew about God and Christ but his friend here didn't know anything. So he told his friend, "Listen to these boys they are going to teach you something about God", then he left.  We were sitting there talking with the friend and he isn't religious but he told us that he thinks it is important to have a belief in God but he personally doesn't know anything about Him and that he needs someone to teach him. We were able to testify to him about a God who knows and loves him and has provided a way for us to learn about Him through his prophets and the Book of Mormon! Now we didn't have much time before we had to be back in our apartments so we set up a time to come back tonight to teach him more, at this point I was questioning a little bit his sincerity - he seemed very sincere but it was almost to good to be true!  I was thinking we would just be coming back and he wouldn't be there.  As we were leaving, he stopped us saying, "Wait, I will give you my number just in case I am not here, that way you can call me and we can understand where to meet!" That was pretty amazing and truly a great evidence of how the Lord will bless us as we use the time we have to the fullest and work hard!

I can't really think of any questions that stood out or anything. Although last night, another story from tracting, it was getting later and a bit darker and we were on a floor that didn't have a light but there was still enough coming in from the window to see good enough so we knocked on the door and what I thought was a little girl opened the door so I asked her if her parents were there but then to my dismay I realized that it was not a little girl it was a very short and young looking mother. So quickly I apologized and shared a little of our message and the best part was she was interested but was busy at the time so she invited us to come back tonight! That was a bit embarrassing and my companion teased me for a bit about that.

Oh and here is a picture of some biscuits I made with the butter cutter which I am very grateful to have! Thank you! Have a great week!

Yes, for his birthday, Christian asked for a pastry cutter!  He does make lovely biscuits!

With Love
Старейшина Максуел

Monday, April 15, 2013

I love sharing with people ...

The Maxwell family is pretty incredible! I love sharing with people that we are 8 kids in the family and that I love having so many siblings. It usually just blows them away since most families here are 2-3 kids max.
Things are going well here.  We had zone conference on Tuesday and that was pretty good, although, our district was a little late getting there because the bus we were going to take wasn't working so we had to wait for the next one, that was a little frustrating but we got there! We had a lot of good lessons this week which is good because we do a lot of finding just in general as a mission and it always is good to be able to see some results of all the finding work we do even if it is just a lesson or getting a Book of Mormon to some one. It was cool too, we went over to one of our investigators earlier in the week and he has a little garden area with a couple shed and he was showing us all of his garden and in one of the sheds he has a little forge and he uses it to make like shovel heads and other gardening tools so that was pretty cool.  We weren't able to get back out to him till yesterday and he told us that in the morning he had woken up just a little down not really understanding the purpose of life and he was wondering what had happened to us, then we showed up that evening!  He was so glad to see us and kept saying that God knows us and our needs and will answer them! So that was really neat for us to be able to help him understand a truth like that even though we didn't really do anything but show up!

We have been having pretty good weather I think we have made it through the rainy stage.  The university gets out some time in May and sadly, I have heard that it gets pretty dead here in the summer as all the students leave. But oh well I'll take what I can get!

The branch is pretty small here we do have a full branch presidency but one of the counselors has a hard time getting to church from his selo (town). Usually on Sunday we have around 20 members that are there.  It's a lot of work, with the branch here, making sure that everything is getting done and reminding them about things but they are all really awesome and I love being able to work with them! Oh and one of the sisters plays the piano and also the branch presidents daughter plays so they just switch every Sunday, I'm glad that I learned a little bit of piano but I am also glad that you didn't make me spend a ton of time practicing or taking lessons, so yeah it's all good!

We have been able to watch the Saturday session of general congerence and we will continue to watch them over the next few weeks ( the members here don't really have the patience to do them on the regular schedule even if it is a week later) but it was good I probably didn't understand everything but I could understand generally what they spoke about,but I look forward to getting the written talks!
The district is doing well we've got some solid missionaries here and I am glad to be able to work with them! I sadly don't get to hear or see Elder Bennion ever.  I would have to be a zone leader that he calls into or one of the assistants who get to go down for zone conference so I have some hope there but I do talk to president as much as I can about him and Turkey to see how he is doing! I was lucky this week after zone conference president gave us all a ride down in his car because he had to interview a member for her temple recommend so I got some good updates on how he is doing!

I hope you have a great week! Thank you for everything! I love you lots!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, April 8, 2013

I guess it's cool to not be a teenager anymore!

So it doesn't really feel different to be 20 but I guess it's cool to not be a teenager anymore! My birthday was really good we had really nice sunny weather and the sisters cooked us lunch, burgers and fries, it was pretty good, then we had a couple lessons and some contacting and then a senior couple who is basically in charge of youth and YSA came down with a YSA conference talk from Pres. Uchtdorf. So it was pretty good for sure! I will get the package tomorrow when we go up to Sofia for zone conference.

Things are going well in Bulgaria, it is pretty amazing how much we are being blessed as missionaries and all of the success that we are having as a mission!  We haven't seen any of general conference yet, we will start watching them next week and we probably will watch most of them if not all in the next couple weeks, I'm not completely sure it'll depend on what the branch president wants to do. Either way I'll read them in the Ensign when it comes out, my Bulgarian isn't perfect and they tend to have a pretty big vocabulary when they speak in conference.

This week was good, we had a few interesting experiences, for example there is one family we had tracted into last week we met with a couple times but the mother has epilepsy and in one of our lessons my companion was saying a prayer and she started to have a fit and so the husband quick jumps up and is holding her so she can't flail around and he's just standing there talking to us like it was normal, it was only like a minute or less and then we just continued the lesson like normal. The teaching is going well, it's a little bit frustrating when we don't have any contact with an investigator other than their address and we stop by and they are hardly ever there.  We do have some pretty cool investigators and it is going pretty well with most of them!!

We don't really get dinner appointments anywhere, the people are usually pretty poor and it's just not something that they do too much but they almost always will have a some juice or banitsa or something when you go over to their house for a lesson.

Banitsa (Bulgarian: Баница, also translated as banica and banitza) is a traditional Bulgarian food prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of cheese between filo pastry and then baking it in an oven.

It's pretty exciting being on a mission right now, president sent us an update of how many missionaries there are and how much the church has grown and it feels good to be a part of it even though I may not make much of a difference, in the long run it is good to be out here serving the Lord!!

I cant really think of much else so yeah!

I love you all! Have a great week!!

Elder Maxwell

Monday, April 1, 2013

Today is looking pretty good and sunny!

Happy Easter!!

This week went by incredibly fast, it feels like it was just yesterday I was writing you!

So, we actually didn't have Easter this week, they have it on the fifth of May here. So I didn't really do anything special for Easter, just regular church and missionary work! We had a couple really good lessons this week.  We even got the young girl to come to Young Women, but she is kind of shy and got scared and left.  We will have to see if we can get one of the Young Women to go out with us, to get her a friend, so she won't be so nervous.  We also met with a new family yesterday, that we had tracted into, they have a young daughter also and they are very cool so we will be meeting with them again this week! We also found a cool young guy, who is studying to be a music teacher for the accordion, he is pretty solid also.  This week should be pretty good!

The weather was pretty bad all week, we had rain almost every day, but today is looking pretty good and sunny!

We didn't have a ton of lessons this week but we were very blessed in finding a lot of people who have interest and a lot of potential! Oh yeah, this week it was pretty cool we were going through the area book and looking at some of the old investigators.  There was one lady, her mother lives in Washington and is a member and sent the missionaries to her about a year ago.  The missionaries met with her a couple times and then her husband came in one time and told them to leave and not come back.  So we figured we could give her a try, we found her block and apartment and she let us in, her husband is living in Russia, she really likes what she hears about the church from her mom and she wants to learn more! She is going to be in Sofia this week, so we will start teaching her next week!  She also has a young 9 year old daughter so this branch has a lot of potential Young Women, now we just need to find some young men!
Love you!
Старейшина Максуел