Monday, September 30, 2013

I love being able to serve here!

It sounds like everyone is growing up while I am gone, that's not very fair and it shouldn't be allowed, but for now I guess I'll just let it be - there's not too much that I can do about it! 

So, I am staying in Varna for at least 6 more weeks and I will be staying with Elder Measom!!  Although it will have to come pretty soon (my call to go serve in Turkey with Elder Bennion) otherwise, I won't be able to learn the language very well!  Ha-ha, that probably won't ever happen but I am ready if that is where the Lord needs me to go!

Bulgaria is a very beautiful country and I love being able to serve here, the people aren't as busy and rushed as people in New York but they are busy enough that it can be a little difficult talking to them on the street and setting up lessons. I can't complain, I sometimes forget that people don't have all day, everyday to talk about the gospel and all.
There are tons of strollers here, especially when the weather is good, there are always mothers, fathers and grandparents out on a walk with their kids.  The family is pretty important to everyone here and they are often in the parks doing things together.

This week we were in Varna all week! We just had exchanges here with the district leader so we were able to get a full week in, which was nice.  This week though, we'll be going down to Burgas for a baptismal interview and some exchanges!
Our investigators are doing pretty well, actually our one investigator who was ready for baptism but went out to the village for work gave us a call this week and we were able to meet with him. He broke his hand while he was out there and he lives alone so we helped him out with a few things and are able to meet with him more often now!  
We were going to have a branch sports activity this week, it was sunny all week but then all the sudden sat. it started to rain and so we weren't able to have that, it was a little disappointing but that is what back up plans are for!
Another cool thing, we had dinner and a lesson with a couple who has a son on a mission in London and after we finished the meal their daughter (not a member) shows up with her kids and we were able to have a lesson with all of them! It was really funny because the mother invited them to sit down with us for the message and when they said yes (she was in the kitchen where they couldn't really see her) she gave us a huge thumbs up and was really excited. It was pretty funny, you would have had to have been there, but we had a good little message with them!  

Contacting was really good this week, although the weather is starting to turn more cold and wet so there won't be so many people out on the streets, but there are lots of ways to find people so it's all good. 
One thing I can think of now for a Christmas package would be a box of mac n cheese. I haven't had that in a long while!

Have a great week! Lots of love,
Elder Maxwell

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bulgaria is doing well!

Bulgaria is doing well, we had another training meeting that me and Elder Measom led this week and it went well.  Elder Measom is an excellent missionary and a great teacher! Our investigator is still out in the village and we still don't know when exactly he will get back, hopefully he's not trying to avoid us or anything!
We had a pretty good week we were able to get more lessons than we had last week, so that was good.  We talked with so many people this week and had a pretty successful week of contacting so now hopefully some of these people will turn into investigators! We talk with a lot of Russians and also Turks from time to time.  Elder Measom and I are getting pretty good at a few sentences we know in each of the languages, we can ask the how they are and all but after that we just have to ask if they know English. We have a new investigator that met with missionaries a few years ago, he learns kind of slow but he has a pretty sincere desire to learn and do that which is right! Also one investigator that I worked with in Sofia (and Elder Measom worked with him there too) lives here in Varna for now but he has been really busy with work.  Now that the tourist season is dying down he has more time and was even able to come to church on Sunday! 
This last week we had exchanges in Shumen and it went well there, it's a pretty city. For our exercise we ran up the hill to this giant communist statue thing and got some pictures it was pretty cool but it was a big hill and I just about died from all the stairs!  I'm going to have to go running more when I get home, I've lost all of my cardiovascular endurance from only rarely going running. Although, we do good workouts every morning I just can't run as far as I used to be able to. But, I am staying healthy and all I still haven't gained or lost any weight, I try to eat a ton but we just walk to much for me to put on any weight and our work outs are to short for me to build any real muscle. 
We do have transfer calls this week, then next week the transfers.  I would guess that I will stay here with Elder Measom and I would like that but, we will see.  It is good that you do role plays with the missionaries.  I love role playing, we usually do at least a little every morning in our companionship study, it can be a little awkward but it is so helpful in figuring out how to say things in a way that allows the spirit to testify and for others to understand our message! I also like how it is so easy to apply to specific situations and then we also can get feedback from others on what we can do better! 

So yeah, that's about it from this week, nothing super exciting or anything that I can think about.  I will try to get some pictures sent home soon but they do have some restrictions on what we can send because of the rough relations between Russia and America at the moment but I will see what I can do. 

Elder Maxwell

Monday, September 16, 2013

Finding times to meet...

Hey, so this will be really quick because me and my companion, well really just him, went golfing today and we got stuck behind some old slow golfers so it took a little longer than we thought. I just drove the cart and handed him clubs and I may have hit a couple balls at the driving range but golfing isn't really my sport. We went to this golf club called Thracian Cliffs it was way pretty and a very nice course so I got a lot of sweet pictures! 

So from this last week, our investigator was still out in a village helping his friend who has a sick father so he wasn't able to get baptized so we will see when he gets back into town. We found a couple new, pretty cool people this week.  One met with the missionaries a few years ago and showed up to church before we could even schedule a lesson with him! It's weird because recently it's been pretty easy to get our investigators to come to church they all love it but finding times to meet with them during the week has been near impossible! But overall it's been really good.
This last week for meals, (when we were in town) we had a chicken week and did a different kind of chicken every night from all sorts of cultures. We had fried chicken and apricot chicken and chicken fajitas and a chicken roast! So my stomach has been very satisfied this week! Oh and also last P-day me and my companion went suit shopping and I found a nice dark grey one for a good price so I got it, it's a nice European style suit not a super slim fit but it is a good one I will have to try and get some pictures to you all! I will make a note to be sure and do that next week! 

This week we met some guys who are sailors from Manila, Philippines and we talked with them for a little bit.  One of them was a member, he showed us his CTR ring and all and I told them my dad works there pretty often and they all knew the Sutherland call center so I am guessing that it must be pretty big there. They all were very nice and it was cool that one was a member! 

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, September 9, 2013

It went by way too fast!

We have been doing a lot of traveling in the last two weeks.  I've had about 30 or more hours on a bus, so that is quite a bit but this week I've only got a few more hours, over to Ruse and back for exchanges.
This week was good, we were in Sofia at the beginning of the week then we spent a day in Veliko Turnovo again, it's a very pretty city.  Elder Measom and I go on runs, when we go on exchanges there, (for our workouts) so we can get pictures of the city.  I'll have to send some soon, I forgot my camera today.
Things are going well with our investigators, most of them were pretty busy again this week so we didn't get a ton of meetings with them but it was still good. We might have a baptism this weekend, it depends on if our investigator is back in town, he is out in a village helping a friend that is sick, but he is ready - he's just got to be here!  We haven't got any families that we are teaching at the moment but we have a few younger, clean, impressive guys we are working with but we are doing our best to find some families! 
Other exciting news, the branch president got married this weekend to one of the members so we have a new young solid couple in the branch! 

So, my mission President and his wife are amazing! They are from St. George Utah, or at least that is where they were living. They've got 4 sons and basically they are just incredible examples and great teachers. Plus they are such loving and kind people I am very grateful for them and everything they do!
Not too much new or exciting this week, it went by way too fast! But I hope all of you have a great week and that everything goes well! 

Love you,
Elder Maxwell

Monday, September 2, 2013

The people are just so incredible!

This week was good, we had a training meeting for all of the leaders in the mission, so there was a lot of us there.  It was all the way in Sofia so we lost some time to travel but it was really good and I learned lot.  Plus, they had the elders from Turkey skyped in because they all are training.  After the meeting Sister Wilstead let us talk to them for a little bit so I got to talk with Elder Bennion for a little bit!
Also, that one picture I sent you of the family I had been teaching in my last area, the grandmother and the grandson (the two in-between Elder Taylor and me in the pic) got baptized this last week and they are still working with a few of them in the family! I wasn't able to go to the baptism because it was all the way over in Blagoevgrad but I called them that night and got to talk with them for a little bit! It made my day when they were passing the phone to each other and every single one asked when I was going to come, I wish I could go so bad, maybe sometime though I will have the opportunity. 

We did a lot of finding this week, all of our investigators were really busy so we didn't get many lessons.  We were out on the streets a lot, but it went well, we talked with a ton of people! There was one guy that either us or the other elders had talked to last month and he came to church out of the blue and after sacrament meeting I went and talked to him and he had really liked it. He told me he had two questions: Where he could get a Book of Mormon? and Where he could get a hymn book? (he sings in a choir and really liked the hymns!). So we set up a lesson with him that afternoon and it was incredible, he probably is one of the most prepared people I have ever met out here on my mission! So I am excited to meet with him again this week!
We also had exchanges in Burgas and this time we ran into a few of the members so I was able to say hi to them and talk with them for a little bit, they are doing really well down there.  The branch president is incredible and the members are awesome, I would definitely serve there again.  I would probably serve in all of the cities I have been again - the people are just so incredible! 

This week we have mission council so we have to go back into Sofia and we have exchanges in Veliko Turnovo so we've got a bit of traveling again but we got to do what we got to do and as long as we work hard we will be blessed with success!
I really enjoy working with Elder Measom, he is a super missionary and we get along really well.  He probably is among one of my favorite companions, he is pretty similar to me and we are able to joke with each other a lot, it is a lot of fun and we work and teach really well together! 
So things are good and I am enjoying serving here in Bulgaria. Have a great week! 

Love you! 
Elder Maxwell