Monday, May 27, 2013

Wedding Week Miracle! (atleast I think so)

(We just spent 10 days in Oregon, visiting with old friends and attending the wedding of Christian's older brother.  I knew that it was a hard week for Christian, he too wanted to be there enjoying friends and joining in the festivities.  He had a great attitude and knew he was where he should be but I knew it was still pulling at his heart strings to be so far away from us.  At one point, I considered calling the mission president to let him know it might be a hard week for Christian but instead I went to the Lord and asked Him to help it be a good week for Christian. His letter this week confirms that Christian's needs were met in a wonderful way! - Katie)

From Elder Maxwell's (Christian) letter:

So the first one is off and married, now only seven more! That is cool that you got to see so many people. I sure wish I could have been there but oh well. I actually got to talk to Ammon this week, the Assistants came down for a day and Turkey calls in to them so when Ammon called in they let me talk to him.  He wishes that he could have been there too, so really it wasn't a complete party because me and Ammon weren't there! I am a bit jealous that you got to see everyone but sometime I'll get over there and say hi to them all!

From Elder Bennion's (Ammon) letter:

Those pictures are amazing!  Goodness I haven't seen the Maxwells in such a long time, but they are all growing up so much. And man those little boys are starting to look like men! That is so fun to see them! I actually just talked to Elder Maxwell a couple nights ago (privileges from being friends with the assistants). The assistants were in his area during call-ins and when I called in for the night they said "Elder Bennion, guess who is with us." Then they handed the phone to him and we talked for about 10 minutes.  It was really fun. I am still super glad that Elder Maxwell and I went out at the same time and we are close enough that we still get some communication every once in a while. And it was fantastic to see pictures of their family.

I can tell you right now there is nothing better that you can hear on the first lesson!

Bulgaria is well this week, we had a ton of lessons and one of our investigators set a date for baptism in a couple weeks.  We met with him for lessons every single day this week and he came to church and is keeping all of his commitments and is very sincere so I am very excited for him and all he is doing!
There was another big holiday this week on the 24.  They have alphabet day where they celebrate getting the alphabet. And also from the 24th to the 30 they have the graduation celebrations for people finishing 12th class, so there are tons of people driving around in nice cars and going to restaurants.
Also this week when the Assistants came down they all have served here so we went and visited some of their former investigators and people they worked with.  We got a few new people to continue to work with from that! One really cool family and the sisters are even working with the parents of the wife so things are going pretty well here with investigators and teaching!
We found one really cool guy this week and it is amazing how some people are prepared.  I had talked to him on the street and the next day we had set up a time to meet but he didn't show up and his phone was off. But I didn't want to give up on him so the next day I was able to get a hold of him and set up another lesson and this time he came and we were getting to know him a little and we found out that he was fasting and was praying and searching for the truth.  I can tell you right now there is nothing better that you can hear on the first lesson. The lesson went really well the spirit was there and at the end as he said a prayer he thanked God for answering his prayers and we have another lesson with him tonight!
So things are going really well and we'll just keep working!

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

Monday, May 20, 2013

A little bit slow but we had some good lessons.

First of all say hi to everyone there in Oregon for me!  Hi to the Bennions, the Jordans and Shurts and everyone else for me!!

That is a little strange to think that it was over a year ago when I first went through the temple. I really want to go to the Portland temple sometime, I have heard it is pretty awesome and plus that's basically my hometown temple and I haven't even been there!
This week was pretty good, it was a little bit slow but we had some good lessons and we have a few investigators that are progressing really well and preparing for baptism! Cool story, last night my companion found a scorpion in our apartment. I don't know how it got in, we are up on the second floor and all but oh well. My companion killed it before I could catch it a keep it as a pet (which is probably good because we aren't supposed to have pets) but a scorpion would be pretty cool.
We had a zone meeting in Sofia this week and that was good.  It was a bit funny because my last two companions are now companions (up in Pleven), so I asked them if they ever talk about me and they said yes, there isn't a meal that they cook that my name doesn't come up at least three times! I got a pretty good laugh out of that.

It's not really humid here or super dry but it still gets a bit hot, it's nice though. And yes they are starting to have more fruit besides the apples and bananas this week we got some cherries that were pretty good and they have melon but it's still a bit expensive for that.
Most likely there is a another holiday coming up but they have so many here that I never really know. Other than that things have been going well, Elder Taylor rolled his ankle at a branch activity we had on Friday so we have been walking a little slower but he's fine.  I have my ankle brace that I'm letting him borrow and he's been doing better.

I am glad that you all get to be in Oregon and see everyone there.  I wish I could be there too but someone just couldn't wait to get married.  But it is good, I have work here to do and I understand that getting married is important ( although I still think that is pretty fast so don't expect it quite so quick from me).
I hear that you got some Panda Express, so I may be drooling a bit over here, thinking about that orange chicken.

Have a great week and eat some wedding cake for me and all that good stuff!
Love to you all!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, May 13, 2013

Tennis Anyone?

One of Christian's favorite P-day activities is playing tennis, the clay courts have to be wet down before they can play.

It was a bit weird.

It was really good to see you all, it was a bit weird, it was so normal - but then it wasn't really normal anymore!  Jonathan and Ben probably looked the most different but Nate was a lot taller. All of you looked really good and I can't believe how much older all the kids looked.  The computer lady, after I finished, was amazed how big the family is and she says that you both look very young and bright and happy, that was pretty cool.

Things are going well here we had a few of our investigators come to church which was really good.  I've been trying to get investigators to church all last transfer without much success, so it was good to have them there and I'm pretty sure they liked It! This transfer I think we will have a lot of success.  Contacting has slowed down a little because there isn't quite so many people here but we have some good solid investigators!

In Bulgaria, in the summer, most people go to the sea for vacation for at least a couple weeks and lots of people have houses in a selo ( village) that they go to when they have time off.  The students and teachers finish up with school for the summer and there are less people from that too.
So yeah, I can't really think of anything else.  I am glad I was able to see all of you and thank you for all you do, especially you mom and dad! Good job taking care of the missionaries I'm sure they really appreciate it and if they don't, I've got a word or two for them!

Happy Mothers Day again to the best mom in the world, I love you!!

Have a great week!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Photos from the Mission Office!

Here are some photos the mission office sent home!

Christian's district

Elder Breeze and Elder Maxwell

I am guessing this is Christian's zone but I don't see him

I cannot say how happy I am to be able to serve here!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Tacos sound pretty good we actually had velik den yesterday which is their Easter so I had forgotten completely about Cinco de Mayo.  Easter is pretty big here, they all had the whole week off of school and pretty much nobody works this weekend.  One thing that they do that was pretty cool they dye the eggs, then everyone takes one and you take turns hitting them against each others eggs on the ends and the last person with an unbroken egg gets extra life and health or something like that. But I liked it we'll have to have some egg battles when I get back!

This week was a little crazy but it was very good.  The new elders didn't get in till Wed and we didn't get them as companions till Thursday, so from transfers on Tues, to when we got our companions I was with a couple other Elders who also were getting some greenies.    My new companion is Elder Taylor.  He is from American Falls, Idaho.  I'm not really sure what he really likes to do, he doesn't play any sports, he did play the trumpet for the school band but they were pretty small so they didn't have a marching band. He is third in a family of six.  He has 2 sisters and 3 brothers and he has been to Kenya and on safari (so I'm a bit jealous of that).   His dad works for Zions National and his mom stays at home and I can't think of anything else. He's a really good missionary and a very hard worker and his Bulgarian is already pretty good! It is kind of tiring training, at least for the first bit, I don't think I've been so tired since I first got into country and was all jet lagged! But it's all good he is a great Elder and I'm glad to work with him!

Also this week one of the young women in the branch found a bag of puppies in a dumpster, they still are very young and have to be fed milk through syringes. I got to feed one of them they are pretty cute and awesome, I named him Pepe! I will have to send you a picture of him next week I forgot my camera cord today. 

Teaching has been going really well, I actually feel like I have had some of the best lessons of my mission this last week with Elder Taylor! We had one lesson Saturday with this young guy and girl that Elder Ferwerda found with me when he was down here on Wed. They were so cool and the lesson was very good, the spirit was so strong and we were able to commit them to baptism for the 8th of June! Also, we had a lesson with one of our progressing families yesterday and we taught the word of wisdom and the mother really liked it but the father was very, very set on smoking and drinking coffee.  At one point, he kind of flipped out a little and was all "I am going to smoke and drink (coffee, he doesn't drink alcohol) till I die, whether that's when I'm a 110 or next week I do not care!"  We just kind of sat there for a bit and then testified to him that this was not a commandment from us but from God and that God will bless us if we keep His commandments. We told him we cared about him and we wouldn't force him to do anything but we promised him if he tried it for one week, he would see the difference and that God would bless him. And it was amazing how the spirit was able to change the feeling that was there and he agreed to keep the word of wisdom for a week to see if there was a difference!

I cannot say how happy I am to be able to serve here and help others to experiment upon the word, like it says in Alma, and to taste the fruits that come from that!

So yeah that's really cool and thank you for the recipes I'm going to have to try them out.  It's really easy to get fruit and vegetables here.  They are really cheap and they have fruit and vegetable stands all over the place. I'm really excited for the peaches to be back soon and the watermelon!!

I love you all!!
Elder Maxwell