Monday, December 30, 2013

One of my goals for the year is ...

Surprise!! So I thought we would be writing on wed because that is our P-day this week but they needed the numbers to get entered for the last week of the year so they are having us write this morning!! 

It was very good to see all of you and I am amazed at how much all the little kids have grown up I can hardly recognize them! 

My new companion is Elder Parkinson he is from Utah (the area up close to Idaho I can't remember exactly where) He is one of five boys and the second oldest. He plays water polo and has very hairy arms. He is a great missionary and I am glad to be able to work with him, this last week I didn't have much of a chance because I was working with one of the Ukrainian Elders but they got all their work done and left Saturday night. So basically in three weeks I will have had three companions! It was fun working with Elder Page (from Arizona went to BYU same time as me, serving in Ukraine Russian speaking) he couldn't do a ton of missionary work seeing as he didn't know the language and he doesn't have a visa or anything for that here but it was good and an interesting and fun experience! 

This week was pretty good we had two baptisms on Saturday ( a couple that had been meeting with the missionaries for a while) and church was good the missionaries taught the third hour combined and it went pretty well. It has been pretty rough finding new people and even harder meeting with them (we are anticipating a lot of meetings after the new year) but we had some good success and Elder Page and I even found an American couple while we were tracting who are here translating the bible into Roma (gypsy) so we are meeting with them next week as they will be out of town this week, so that was pretty incredible! 

One of my goals for the year is to grow a moustache and to eat a grilled cheese sandwich with so much cheese that I get cheese in my moustache, I probably won't be able to do that any time soon so we will see if I ever get around to that. You could say that is my physical goal, social maybe to pick up a little Turkish, spiritual to be a better missionary here and when I get home, educational room with Elder Bennion at BYU and eat Austin and Emma's food! (And get A's in my classes at BYU)
I love you and it was good to see you all have a great week!!

Love Elder Maxwell

Monday, December 23, 2013

The only bad part about moving to new apartments is...

So it is good to be back in Sofia, the branch here is amazing and I love the city!! I'm not in the same apartment that I was in last time, sadly ( it was a nice apartment), but we still have a nice apartment.  It's just kind of far out from the church and it makes it difficult if we want to do meals at home because it requires a lot of travel.  We do fine and it is going well, it has been good seeing all the members I knew and meeting the others that I didn't or who are new. The only bad part about moving to new apartments is that I usually have to bring it up to Christian Maxwell cleanness standards, ours wasn't too bad but there were a few things that needed a good scrubbing. 

My new companion is Elder Harkness, he is from Highland, Utah.  He is the middle child of 5 kids and he is pretty funny. He plays tennis and likes to shoot bubbles at me while I call people in the mornings and at night, he's been out for 12 weeks now and he is a good missionary. Although, there is  a bit of adjusting from working with fluent missionaries and with those who are still learning the language but he does well!

The week was a bit rough at first, we don't have any investigators at the moment (they baptized them all right before I got here).  We are on the search now with contacting, less actives and part member families.  It was especially crazy this week because there are Ukrainian elders that come in for passport work and all from time to time so my first day: I still don't know my new area, we don't have any investigators, I don't know the members in my area or any less actives and I've got to take one of the Ukrainian elders to work with me while they are here.  That was exciting!  The zone leaders worked with them most the week but it was fun working with them a little and trying to figure out what I was doing. Overall it was a little stressful but a pretty good week!
Well, I will see you all on Wed! Don't forget to learn something in Bulgarian! I love you all!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, December 16, 2013

I am in Sofia!

Hey, so I am in Sofia now and I will be serving here again! This time I will be the district leader and the branch is a lot different than it was before, instead of the two branches there is only one (they combined the two). I will miss Varna for sure it probably is my favorite area that I have served in (but I love them all very much) and it was sad to have to leave. I left pretty quick too.  Usually we move cities on Tuesday, but there is an Elder that was in Varna with me who finished his mission and has a flight home tomorrow, so I came in to Sofia this morning with him.  I got to spend my P-day on a bus!!   But it is all good and I am excited to be here in Sofia!

My new companion is Elder Harkness and I still don't know anything about him so I will have to let you know about him later!

Things are going well in Bulgaria and we have big expectations for the new year, especially here in Sofia.  The branch has a goal for 60 baptisms this year!  It is exciting for me to be here and work with them for that!

Answers to questions from mom:
  • What is the best thing members can do to help the missionaries?  The best thing a member can do is to invite friends to meet with the missionaries and to help out in lessons.
  • What is the biggest challenge the church faces in Bulgaria?  I'm not really sure what the biggest challenge is, it is difficult because the church is still pretty small but it is growing and I am excited to see what the future has for Bulgaria.
  • What is your biggest challenge as a missionary?  My biggest challenge is helping the members to invite their friends I am not super good at it and I am working to get better because it can be a big help in the missionary work.
  • What is the best part of being a missionary?  The best part of being a missionary is probably just meeting with and working with so many people, investigators, members, less actives... I love getting to know them and helping them to have the spirit more in their lives!
Love you all have a great week!!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, December 9, 2013

I am always very ready for bed each night.

So this week was good, we were very busy and had a pretty successful week!! We were in Shumen for a little bit and it's a nice little city but it is pretty cold there, it is a bit warmer here in Varna but we get pretty strong cold winds.
So like Ben we have our transfer calls this week and I hope I get to stay, although, it is likely that I will be moved, I've been with Elder Measom three transfers and I've been here longer than him so it is more likely that I will end up going somewhere but fingers crossed that I will be able to stay!! We have a lot of really cool investigators and a couple baptisms this month and if I transfer I would miss them! Plus the branch here is awesome and I could serve here with them till the end of my mission!! But we will see!
It is pretty easy to live within the budget, I usually have a little left at the end of the month which is good because it is like a buffer for the next month if we end up buying more food.  We eat cheap and well so it is good! Recently we've had a lot more meals from investigators and members which has been helpful although we still cook most of our meals.  Elder Measom and I are both healthy and well which is good, a lot of elders have been getting a little sick recently but we have been blessed to be able to be healthy and work all the time! I am doing well, very busy and I am always very ready for bed each night. 
Cool teaching experience from this week, we were teaching one of our investigators about the word of wisdom and she doesn't smoke or drink but she has drunk coffee for 40 years but she has a very strong desire to follow Christ and is doing all she can to prepare for baptism! She was a little worried about it, but decided to give it a try.  The first couple days, she said she had a bit of a headache but with prayer and a little Advil she made it through the day.  After that, she says she didn't even have the desire to drink it anymore and it's been about a week now! It is amazing to see people change their lives to live according to the commandments and how happy it makes them!! We also have another investigator preparing for baptism this month and he is doing well and the sisters here have a baptism this week so this will be a good month for Varna!! 
The holidays haven't really changed much, there are still people out and about and our investigators are all still in town and willing to meet so it is good.  It's just a little harder when it is colder because there aren't as many people out. In the city, they've put up a bunch of Christmas lights and some other stuff in center so it is all very pretty when it gets dark!! Other than that, I can't think of much but you all have a great week!!!

Love you!! 
Elder Maxwell

Monday, December 2, 2013

Things are going really well.

Things are going really well for us, we missed basically the first half of the week for our meeting and for exchanges but we've got some good investigators and there should be at least a few baptisms here in Varna this month!
We are still working with the grandmother and her son and wife.  The grandmother is doing really well and loves coming to church and meeting with us and she always feeds us when we go over for lessons usually it's just fruit or something small but she's done a couple bigger meals for us.  Once we had this one thing I forget the name it's rice wrapped in cooked grape leaves but she did it with pickled cabbage. Not my favorite but I'm getting used to it they eat it quite a bit here especially in the winter. She is super dedicated and once she gets over her morning coffee she will be ready for baptism! 
The teaching is going well, we had a few good lessons and the members have been helping us out a lot the last couple weeks so that has been good! We found this one really cool guy while we were tracting a couple nights ago, he had a couple kids and he studied the bible and all for this one evangelist or something church but doesn't go there because here doesn't agree with some of their teachings. He is super nice we only had a few minutes with him because it was pretty late at night and we were in a further out part of our area but he has even been to the English courses before and we have another lesson with him tomorrow! It is pretty incredible how prepared people can be and we hope that things will go well with him!
This week got pretty cold and when we were in Sofia it was snowing and we hadn't brought our winter stuff because it was warmer and all in Varna and then we went to Veliko for exchanges and it had dumped snow there and so we had a good colder day working with them and then on the bus back, the bus had to stop and we had to wait a hour or so for them to plow the road so we could get back to Varna! We got in a little bit late but we got in so that's what is important! We still don't have snow here in Varna just cold, windy weather but with a coat and scarf its not bad.

Other than that, things are going well and I love you all! 
Have a great week!
Elder Maxwell