Monday, July 29, 2013

You will have to try some shopska salata it's a very Bulgarian dish they love it here. It's basically cut up tomatoes and cucumbers and sirene (a crumbly white cheese kind of like feta but it only really exists here in Bulgaria) then a little bit of vinegar and oil, it's not too bad and great for in the summer!

The mission is going well, we are finding some cool people and our teaching pool is a lot better than it was when I first got here.  We have a few really cool investigators, a lot of very potential investigators and a couple with dates for baptism this next month!
The travels this week were good, Ruse is a very pretty city and the Elders there are super awesome so I really enjoyed working with them for the day. This week we have a lot of traveling, we are going to Sofia right after I finish writing.  We have to catch our bus (7 hours) and then we have mission council and then we are going out to Burgas to work with the Elders there (there is a new district leader who needs some training) then we will finally get back to Varna to start our week on Wed. night - so there will be a lot of traveling this week!  We travel basically with buses here, the trains have too many stops and are usually and hour or two longer, so we just use the busses.
Bulgaria is probably about the same size as New York, maybe even smaller. Mostly we are just here on the east side in our zone so the furthest city for exchanges is about 3 hours away which is a lot better than the 7 but still pretty long.
Here they grow tons of sunflowers out in the country, so when we travel, we go by huge fields just filled with sunflowers and they are very pretty and yellow! 
Our new apartment is very nice, although we never really have time to cook with our schedule so I haven't done too much.  I did make some banana bread once but that's about it, I haven't really had time to cook anything else special.
Oh yeah, and crazy story from this week, the other Elders here in Varna had a baptism and they had started filling up the font down in the lower floor of our building here then came up for district meeting.  Afterwards, they went down to check on it and the hose had come undone and the whole downstairs had gotten flooded!  We had a to help, for a few hours, pushing all the water into the bathroom so it could go down the drain and then mop everything up. It had only gotten to a like an inch, so not to much got ruined, but it took forever to get rid of all the water! So be careful and watch the font when you are filling it up!!
We keep busy, I am happy, my companion is cool and we get a long really well! 

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

Monday, July 22, 2013

We are still working hard!

So this week was pretty good, we had our zone conference and that went well, I always love zone conferences!
We are still working hard to find some new investigators we don't have a ton and a couple are progressing pretty slowly so we really need to find some new people! But the last few days we've met several pretty nice and potential people so we will see how it goes with them.
One cool experience from this week was while we were contacting, we stopped a little bit older man and his wife and while we were talking with them we found out they were going to help out with a free lunch for the needy that  a local church puts on every Saturday. We had been looking for opportunities to serve so I jumped on this one and offered our help, they had already done pretty much everything but he invited us over to meet some people and see their church. While we were there, a young man came up and said some not so nice words but the guy who had invited us calmed him down and so he stayed and talked with us and in the end we got his number and yesterday had a really good lesson with him!
We finally got our air conditioner fixed so now we aren't roasting but it still is pretty hot outside. I really like this city it is big which is good for having options in where to contact and the branch here is probably the strongest branch I have been in ( meaning they would be fine and still function well if the missionaries were taken out). 

Christian will be traveling from Varna to Ruse for exchanges this week.
This week we'll head up to Ruse for some exchanges and that will be fun.  It'll be my first out of city exchanges! We'll be traveling a lot this transfer because we have a lot of cities in our zone and to get to all of them at least once we will be traveling every week which is a little rough because our zone is pretty spread out so that's a lot of time on a bus, not my favorite but I'll do what I've got to do. 
Have a great week and congrats again on the mission call I am very excited for you Ben!!

Love you all,
Elder Maxwell

Monday, July 15, 2013

So yeah, Life is Good in Varna!

Varna is pretty awesome, the members here are amazing!  We have a much bigger branch here, which is a great blessing, it is pretty hard in the smaller branches.
We don't have a view of the sea just a bunch of annoying seagulls that nest outside our window and make a ridiculous amount of noise very early in the morning. It is pretty hot and a little humid so I'm a pretty sweaty Elder by the end of the day. Our air conditioner is also broken, it fried the day before I got here so I've been living in an oven all week, but they should be coming to fix it this week which is good because I'm not a huge fan of the heat.
We do a lot of walking when we contact, we only use the buses to get out to the further sides of the city for appointments, but it is good and a very pretty city. There are two other sets of missionaries here some sisters and elders.  I'm here with Elder Hoy as a zone leader, so I'll get to travel out to some other cities this transfer for exchanges, I'm excited to go to Burgas and see the members there again!
About my companion: he is from Canada (Edmonton), he has two younger sisters, he's a quarter Chinese.  He likes a lot of things: soccer, Canada, food, cool stuff. He doesn't like seagulls and I can't think of anything else he doesn't like.
We don't have a ton of investigators, but we are finding some cool people.  The members here are really helpful in teaching and we are working on getting them to invite their friends and such to things.
I think we'll have a great transfer, it is a bit of a change of pace to have a companion that also can speak Bulgarian and knows whats up and all.

So yeah, life is good in Varna!

I love you, have a great week!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, July 8, 2013

Тази седмица ще се върна на морето!!

So we got transfer calls this week and I'm headed back over to the other side of the country to serve in Varna! I am super excited, there is a pretty big branch there and I have heard lots of good things about them! And I will get to serve with Elder Hoy from my MTC group he is from Canada and he is pretty awesome!!

Ben you need to get your call already so you can start getting ready to come to Bulgaria!!

I am doing well, we had a pretty good week it felt a little bit slower, a couple of our investigators are out on vacation so we weren't able to meet with them at all this week. It is okay, we found a cool new family this week and had a really good lesson with them last night.  Also, last night after our lesson, we still had some time so we did some tracting and found a couple more people.  Then, we didn't have enough time to do a complete fode or set of apartments, but we still had a little time so we were just walking back trying to talk with people and we talked with a couple guys from Yemen, they were really cool.  They spoke very good Bulgarian but not much English, so that was cool, it was interesting to hear an Arabian accent with Bulgarian. They are here in the city studying for their doctorate and we got their numbers to meet with them again sometime!!

It is pretty cool all the different people that we meet and talk with, it makes for a very unique experience! It makes it even better that I am here to share the message of the restored gospel which really helps them in their life's it is amazing to see how it can change their life! Our recent convert is so excited he is a member and is inviting his friends to learn more and meet with us and he is helping us out in a lot of lessons. He really is a different person from when we first met him!

People, in general here, are pretty shut to us as missionaries and I've had my fair share of rude people. The mission has been focusing on working with the members and building relationships with them and, even in the time that I have been here, I have seen a change in how the members feel about the missionaries and the overall progression of the work. There are people here who have been prepared to receive the gospel in their lives and we just have to find them, as we work with the members and do everything we can, we will find them and we will help others to be ready to accept the gospel. There are many wonderful people here in Bulgaria and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve them even though it may be a little frustrating at times. 
Have a super week!!
Love from,
Elder Maxwell

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's been good and I am happy!

This week we did have the baptism and it went well.  I must say, I'm pretty tired!  We have been very, very busy keeping up with all of our investigators and lessons and getting the font and everything ready for baptism and all it made for a pretty exhausting week.  It is all good, I wouldn't have it any other way, even though in the mornings I never feel like 8 hours is enough!  Once you get going, it's not so bad!

Our companionship is really being blessed right now.  We have a lot of really good investigators and a few with dates for baptism.  One of them is actually a very good friend to the recent convert, they both come to church together.  We have a new member that can support him and help him learn and also we can keep our new convert busy and active in the church as he helps us with his friend! Our family that we have been teaching is doing well the grandmother is working very hard to stop smoking because she feels she can't help her family do what is right when she isn't being a good example for them so I am still very happy to be working with them!

Oh yeah and my companion got to baptize our investigator so that was cool, him getting to baptize someone in his first transfer!

We've had alright weather, it hasn't been too hot but it has been raining on and off the last few days, but overall it's been good. I cant really think of anything else but it's been good and I am happy!

I love you all and have a great week!

Elder Maxwell