Sunday, August 18, 2013

Stake Conference

I was asked to give a talk about my mission call in my recent Stake Conference. Since this blog is about all things to do with my mission, I thought it was fitting to put it here. Enjoy!

Good morning, Brothers and Sisters! I'm Emily Maxwell; I've been called to the Sweden Stockholm Mission, and I go to the Provo MTC on October 2nd.

My decision to serve a mission and getting my call has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. As I've studied the scriptures so that I can be prepared to share them with others, I've come to know and love them in a new, and I've been able to see my Heavenly Father's hand in my life, and I know nothing could have shown me this like getting ready to serve.

I consider my call a miracle, for several reasons. First among them is that, if it had been up to me, Sweden is where I would have chosen to go. I'm by no means everyone should expect to get called where they want to serve, but I consider myself blessed that I was called where I wanted to go. And honestly, saying I wanted to serve in Sweden makes me sound insane. The winters are frozen; I'm expecting an average of -40 Farenheit, and since it's so far north it actually crosses the Arctic Circle, I'll be going for weeks at a time without seeing the sun. It's a European mission, so I'm not going expecting to be bringing in huge masses of converts, and from the stories I hear, apparently the people have no problem talking to you only long enough to say they're not interested and then shutting the door in your face, and are apparently blunt to the point of being rude (by American standards).

And yet, it's where I wanted to go, for the simple reason that it was my dad's mission. I grew up hearing little bits of Swedish and stories from his mission. If you ask many of my friends from high school, I would bring knackebrod (which is Swedish rye bread) for lunch all the time, although the first time most of them saw it they asked why I was eating cheese on a graham cracker. In my house, Swedish fish doesn't mean red gummy candies, but an actual dinner involving fish and potatoes. I grew up loving Sweden and loving it's people and culture. It's always been a goal of mine to go there and see the things my dad talks about. And it's been amazing in the past few weeks to get to share Sweden with my dad and to start learning the language.

This brings me to reason number two. I am a diabetic. Generally, it's church policy to keep diabetics in their countries because it's easier to deal with medical care. I can still remember a few months ago I came out of a doctor's office shouting over text at one of my best friends that there was a small (as in 1 in 1000) chance I would get called on a foreign mission. And even at that, when I opened my call, I was fully expecting to read something like "Colorado" or "Washington". It's a blessing in my life to know that diabetes does not limit me or what I'm capable of accomplishing.

Just quickly, I would like to share a story from my dad's mission, and I share it because it's still important to me today.  While my dad was serving in an area called Lulea, he was teaching a man. His wife had been a member for years, and he'd been an investigator for some time, but the missionaries could never quite get him to commit to baptism, for many reasons, like work, family, and his friends. After my dad had been in Lulea for quite some time, he and his companion decided to take this man to stake conference, hoping that he would hear something that would touch his heart and convince him to be baptized. After the conference, my dad, his companion, and their investigator met with the mission president, who after several minutes of talking, asked the investigator, "Do you love your wife?" to which the investigator replied, "Yes." The mission president then asked, "Then why haven't you been baptized?" He and his wife talked it over, and he decided to be baptized that night. They couldn't get the font to fill, so they tried filling it with buckets from the kitchen sink. That took too long, so they decided to get the fire-hose from down the hall and filled the font that way. He was baptized, and as he was confirmed, he was blessed that he would become a leader in the church in Sweden. This has been realized, and he's now a leader I'm sure to come in contact with in Sweden all these years later.

In closing, I would like to bear my testimony that this is the Lord's church, and His work. It is a privilege to be taking part in missionary work at this time, and I'm grateful for the testimony I have. I know that my Heavenly Father is involved in every part of my life, and I'm grateful for His influence. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.