Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Revelation through Cake

Hallå min familj och vänner! Hur går det med du?

Life in the MTC continues. This past week has presented some interesting challenges. I caught the cold at the MTC, and my insulin decided to start going bad- meaning it still worked, but only when it wanted to. Between that and the MTC food, my blood-sugar has been fun- fun enough for me to write in my planner "Revelation through Cake." I'm pretty sure I meant "Revelation through Church," however, the concept of good food is so foreign at this point, and essentially miraculous, so maybe i was being smarter than I thought when I wrote that. Not that I think I'll actually be receiving revelation anytime soon by eating cake. Oh well, only two more weeks of MTC food, and then I'm off to eat potatoes and pickled herring for 18 months! Yum!

Life outside of food and blood-sugar has been great. Syster Stewart and I are still having fun walking the MTC singing Disney songs. The new dutchies thought we were kidding when we told them they'd hear us coming- they now have to admit they were wrong. We have fun as a district and zone. What started as a rivalry with the Norwegians has calmed down a lot now. We still tease each other mercilessly, but we're all amazing friends now. We still enjoy our Eldste Edwards-isms. He says and does the most interesting things. Apparently cream cheese is the nastiest thing he's ever eaten, but the MTC did an okay job with fish and chips- he looked like a kid at christmas when he sat down with two plates, and didn't talk to any of us until both plates were clear. Oh, and he was about a tenth of a second away from a spit-take the other day when I did my impression of Wallace and Gromit- "Cheese, Gromit!"

All of the Sisters are great; we have Disney parties in the showers, and eat ridiculous amounts of food- seriously, I have an entire shelf on my desk which is just food. How I'll finish it before leaving the MTC, I don't know, but I'm not gonna let that go to waste anytime soon.

So, Syster Stewart and I had a rather unexpectedly awesome experience with one of our investigators, Alex, last week. We've felt a lot like we've been struggling to get through to him in the last few lessons. So we planned this lesson less to teach a new doctrine, and more to gauge what he's learned, what he's hoping to gain by continuing to meet with the missionaries, and how we can help him build a testimony of the gospel through questions. We were expecting a lesson a lot like the others, with a lot of "Um's" and "Ja vet inte's." However, we were only a few minutes into the lesson when we started feeling the spirit so strongly as he bore testimony of the things he had learned with us. At the end of the lesson, we asked him why he hadn't decided to be baptized, and were shocked when he answered, "Because you haven't asked me!" Oops! However, it was a good reminder on our parts that even if we're not always on top of what's going on, the Lord is, and He can turn a situation into something far better than we ever had planned.

One of my favorite words that I've learned på svenska is 'omvändelse'. It literally means 'an about turn' or 'to turn around,' but in a gospel context, it means both "to repent" and "to be converted." I'm not sure if I'm using the verb form right there, but no matter how you use it, it means the same. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, and honestly, I kind of wish it worked the same way in English. Atonement literally means "an at one-ness" with the Lord. As we repent we become more in sync, or at one, with the Lord. I think it's an interesting concept, that our conversion, and the degree to which choose to repent are in many ways the same thing- choosing to put behind you old wrongs, and to turn back to the Lord. Anyways.

Oh, another interesting tidbit- both Brother Bush and Brother Jorgenson (two of my teachers) were Adam Webster's mission companions. It's a small world. And admittedly, it was a little strange to have Brother Jorgenson explain he's been to the Webster's new house and old house, and to figure out that means he's seen my house. It's a VERY small world.

One last note- thank you so much to my beautiful soul sister, Miss Oakleigh Yost. I got her belatedly birthday present yesterday, and I was a VERY happy missionary! I'm now the proud owner of my own sonic screwdriver, some doctor who pins, and doctor who post-its. Dalek post-its will soon be invading the MTC. :D

this is said happy missionary!
Anyways, I love you all, I miss you, and pray for you! I love getting letters from everyone and hearing how things are going with y'all (it's amazing how using that word på svenska makes me want to use it more på engelska).

Med kärlek,

Syster Maxwell

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


So, life continues here at the MTC. Seriously (the food aside) this is the coolest place! After the last group of Dutchies left last Monday, another set came in last Wednesday. They are so much fun, especially the new sister, Sister Jones. She's so amazingly talented, and funny.

So, my zone actually has about 35 missionaries. There are only 5 Swedes, but we also have the Norwegians, the Danes, and the Dutch. There is one Dutch Elder who arrived on the same day as me (2 weeks ahead of the other Dutchies) who's going to the West Indies, so he's our "lone Dutchie" in one of the Norwegian Districts.

The MTC is awesome; I've got three fantastic teachers, all returned missionaries from Sweden.  Bro. Jorgensen is the youngest and was the one who told me about Pres. Nyman, but Bro. Bush and Bro. Dunn are where to go for vocab and grammar questions

My dorm room is actually pretty great. Although there are 6 beds, it's just Syster Stewart and me. We're right next door to the other 5 sisters in my zone. I have a fridge, and it's been great for keeping my insulin cool. Oh, and it's insane, but from my room, I can see Heritage Halls and BYU printing. I keep an eye out for Doug's car, but I haven't seen it yet.
Syster Stewart is fantastic. She's from a farm in Spokane Washington. She's the second of 8 kids, and she talks about her family all the time. She'll be 20 in December, but we have sisters in our zone who are almost 21. She, Sister Buhler, and I have fun being nerds together.

The Swedish is coming slowly but surely. It's interesting, because every time we teach, it's pa svenska, but truthfully, we don't really use our language aids as much as we used to. We teach at least one investigator every day, and we had two yesterday. Investigators tend to be our teachers taking on the role of an investigator they taught in their missions. One of our teachers, Brother Jorgenson, is playing a 10-year old, and he's freakishly good at it. We love getting to teach him, because he's very quick to catch on, and very driven- the kid read the Book of Mormon twice in 10 days! Teaching him is so cool, especially because he's so enthusiastic about the gospel. Our other investigator, Alex, is coming along well too. Not quite as fast as Adam, but he's becoming more and more receptive to our message.

So, just as an overview, a day at the MTC goes roughly like this:
6:15 Wake up and shower
7:00 Go to the gym and play volleyball and foursquare for an hour
8:00 Personal Study
8:45 Breakfast
9:15 Classtime and teaching
1:50 Lunch
2:30 More classtime and teaching
5:45 Language study
6:45 Dinner
7:30 More study time
9:00 Planning
10:30 Bed!!!!!!

The schedule doesn't go exactly like that every day, but all of that is fit in there somehow or other, and we are busy every minute of every day. Maybe I don't have as many different activities going on as the high school and college kids do, but I promise, I'm working so hard I essentially fall into my bed every night. Well, technically, I don't fall since I have the top bunk, but I look like a zombie stumbling up the ladder.

We have a lot of fun, singing disney songs, and making up our own parts to hymns (Syster Stewart takes soprano, I take alto. All together, it works out well). We quote movies like no one's business, and over-all just love life as misisonaries.

I love being a missionary. I really do. I'll be honest, it's hard, and I miss my family, and there are times I wish I could be there with them, but I know I'm exactly where I need to be. I have so much fun here and I've seen my testimony grow and my understanding of the gospel has expanded so much already. One of the best quotes I've heard here at the MTC is "The atonement isn't part of the gospel; the atonement is the gospel." It's a different perspective than I had before on the Atonement, and it has reshaped my testimony so much as I've thought about it in the last few weeks. None of the gospel matters without the atonement, and because of the atonement, we have an amazing, bright hope that something better is always going to come, because we have a Savior and a gracious Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can possibly begin to imagine.

Just as a note, to date, I have seen Elder Dexter Murray, Elder Chandler Young, Elder Jaik Brown, Elder Jake Jenson, Elder Nick Elg, Elder Nathan Ricks, Elder Danny David Dawson, Elder Riley McEwan, and Elder Ben Van de Graaf. Sister Victoria Violette, Sister Rachel Page, and Sister Melanie Hunter. I also was able to talk to Elder Adam Isaac a few times before he finally left for Kobe, Japan, which was amazing. I thought I'd said goodbye to him back in August when we all were hanging out at the Bell's one last time before he and Elder Mike Vance went to the MTC, but I was able to shake his hand (because that's the only contact Sisters and Elders can have) just hours before he boarded a plane to fly out to Japan. I haven't heard anything since, but I know that he's going to be an amazing missionary in Japan.

Being a missionary isn't easy. Last week after Devotional, Syster Stewart had a minor break-down. She's had her faith tried much harder in the last few months than ever before, and as a missionary, she wants to be exactly obedient, and know that what's she's teaching is absolutely true. And I can definitely understand that; it's terrifying, in a way, to contemplate that I'm going to tell people for the next 18 months how they should change their lives and why. We've been working together to help her overcome that, and I do think that she's doing better now, but it has made me reflect a lot on why I'm here.

I'm here because the gospel is light in my life, and I want to share it with others. I love the promise of the restored gospel, and I think that promise should be made available to everyone. Someone is out there, waiting for what I have to offer as a missionary. I don't know who they are, or when I'll meet them. I might not even know until after this life, but I do know the Lord has a purpose for me out in Stockholm, and I want to get out there and fulfill that purpose.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week 2

So, the MTC remains amazing. It's both sad and awesome, we sent off our Dutchies along with Elders Bodine and Reber, and Sister Frampton in the past two days. The Dutchies are off to serve in the Belgium-Netherlands Mission. Elder Bodine had a broken foot, but since it's healed, he went off to Sweden on Monday morning. Elder Reber and Sister Frampton were both supposed to go to the Norway Oslo Mission, but they're visas didn't come in, so they were reassigned last week and are now serving in Nampa, Idaho, and Raleigh, North Carolina repectively. It's seriously been so amazing to get to know these elders and Sister Frampton, and I know that they're going to be just as amazing out in the field.

Last Friday, Syster Stewart and I had prepared an amazing lesson for our investigator, Johan. We'd been waiting upstairs for several minutes when he came in and shirt and tie, and asked us what we were doing there. Apparently he's our new teacher. As a district, we've affectionately named him Faux-han. It's still a little bizarre to hear him speaking in perfect english, but he's an amazing teacher. We now have two investigators; Adam, who is a 10-year old chinese boy who speaks swedish (played by our teacher, Broder Jorgenson) and Alex, played by Broder Dunn.

It continues to get colder down here, and I'm really starting to appreciate my scarves and fleece-lined tights. Apparently BYU controls our heating, so we still get the air-conditioner blowing in our class-rooms, even though it's only 40 degrees out when we get there.

And they made us move classrooms! I'm still not entirely sure why, but yesterday they announced to us that we were moving classrooms. I'm not complaining; we used to be in the basement, where all we could see was the tunnels. Now we're on the top floor, and we have a lovely view of a tree, which is a great reminder that the world still exits. The only downside is that now we have desks that don't have room for our books, and the desk is attached to the chair. Gone are the days of padded, wheeled seats, gone are the days of chair-races down the hallway. Oh well, now we have a tree, and it's beautiful. Oh, and now we have a second British Elder across the hallway in addition to Eldste Edwards. I'm getting a lot of practice on my British accent.

So, Syster Stewart and I have officially joined the MTC choir. It's insane what they manage to pull off; we walked in to rehearsal on Sunday night and sight-read a Mack Wilberg piece we're supposed to perform tonight in devotional. It's absolutely amazing to hear; it's a version of 'Praise to the Man,' and of course, since it's Mack Wilberg, the chords are gorgeous and full, and the transitions are amazing. And amazingly enough, even though we're an enormous group of teenagers, we are managing to somehow pull it off.

Really, it's amazing to see how the Lord quickens our understanding as missionaries, musically, and in our lessons. I've learned more Swedish in the past few weeks than I know what to do with, and I would not have believed that we could learn a Mack Wilberg piece in so little time. Again and again though, I'm reminded that the Lord DOES watch over His missionaries, and He will help us as we work to serve him.

Love, Syster Maxwell

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hello from the MTC! I hope everything's going well at home!

The MTC has been amazing; I'm so relieved to finally be out working! After all that waiting and trying to find something to keep myself busy (except for when I was suddenly slammed with getting ready in the last two weeks), it's been fantastic to be here and to be actively engaged in something every minute of the day. I go to sleep exhausted, and I wake up exhausted, but at the same time, I'm thrilled to be on the Lord's errand.
I have the most amazing companion; I love Syster Stewart! I don't know why everyone seem so concerned I'd annoy my companion to death. Okay, that's a lie, I do know, but for all of you who were concerned, things couldn't have turned out better! She's a music geek like me; she has a ridiculous knowledge of musicals, Disney movies, and hymns. She actually brought a binder of vocal pieces with her, and later we're going to try through one with a violin obligato, for which I am immensely excited. She also has the most amazing testimony and concern for others, which is a trait I should probably work to develop more in myself.
It is hard work here. We're up every morning by 6:30, and it's a crunch to make it to bed by 10:30. Every minute is spent either learning the language, or preparing for our next lesson with our investigator.
Oh, I suppose I should mention that we've already had two discussions with our investigator. His name is Johan. We first met him on Friday, which was absolutely terrifying. We'd only been studying the language for two days, and we were lucky to be able to understand what he was saying to us! Yesterday's lesson went better; we weren't as freaked out going in, and we (technically, Aldste Allen) had the brilliant idea to take a white board in with us so when we came to a word we didn't know, Johan could write it down so we could understand him. There was a moment as I was talking that I could feel the spirit so strongly- it was awesome, and exactly what I needed at the moment. I hope that my Swedish continues to improve so that we can have even better discussions.
I have an amazing district and zone; besides Syster Stewart and myself, we have three elders in our district, and our zone includes the Norwegians and our lone Dutchman. I think it's awesome; the Norwegians have a British elder, Eldste Edwards. It is the best thing to hear him talk. So far, we've heard such novelties as "no malarky back there," "good golly," and my favorite, "don't throw your teddy out of the pram." Syster Stewarts usually gets in trouble for imitating his accent, usually without her realizing that she's done it.
And the Norwegian sisters are amazing! I love Sister Buhler! We have very deep and moving discussions about Disney movies (usually after Syster Stewart or I make a Disney reference. Cuz that's what we do. A lot.) and other geekly things. She's also taught me a new way to Donald Duck.
It's insane, actually; it's the MTC, and you can always feel the spirit here, but I laugh so much, because the people are so amazingly funny and nice. My first morning here, as I was walking to breakfast, Syster Stewart and I heard some elders imitating wookies-something which has actually been repeated upon several occasions.

General Conference was amazing from the MTC. It seemed like a lot of the talks focused on missionaries and members helping us out, as well as on being accepted for whatever level of faith you have and family history work. I was kind of surprised by Elder Hollands talk; it didn't seem to have all of his usual fire, and it was an interesting (but still amazing) topic for him, and I LOVED President Uchtdorf's talk on Saturday morning.
Something amazing from this week, I'm not sure if anyone from home remembers, but as we were eating lunch at Zupa's before dropping me off last wednesday, there was another sister eating there who we recongnized as a diabetic. I honestly didn't think I would run into her again, but as it turns out, she is four doors down the hall from me. I had forgetten about her until Friday night, when I ran into her brushing her teeth in the bathroom. I saw her tubing hanging out of her shirt, and I decided to strike up a conversation-weird for me, but I'm glad I did.
Apparently, she was only diagnosed back in July. She was supposed to have come to the MTC back then, but they pushed her date back so that she could have some time to learn to deal with the disease. She's already on a pump (actually, I'm a little jealous, because she has a t-slim- something to look into when I get home), but she's still trying to emotionally come to terms with her diagnosis. She had been feeling angry and alone here at the MTC, and struggling to understand why God would give her this trial at this time when she was already sacrificing so much for Him.
She seemed so relieved to know there was someone else there who understood what was going on, and to know that although it's hard to come to terms with the fact your life will never be the same, that doesn't mean it has to be terrible. I've seen her a few times since then, and she always says hello with a smile on her face. I hope that she's able to continue to control her diabetes so well, because she makes my blood-sugars look awful, and Doctor Lindsay was always ready to serenade me as his best patient for my hA1C.
And there's my week! I hope everything's still going well for everyone back home! Love and miss you tons!
Love, Em

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 4, 2013
Hallå min familj!
The MTC is great. For Mom’s sake, there is a dietitian who I’ve talked to. She’s given me wheat thins, and there’s apple juice and PB sandwiches waiting for me in the kitchen ANYTIME.
I’m loving min kamrat, Syster Stewart. We have fun quoting Disney movies, breaking into accents, and singing at the top of our lungs. Seriously, I don’t think I could have asked for a better companion. She’s crazy, but the same way I am so it all works!
The MTC is the best; I always feel happy - exhausted but happy. I’ve also come to realize the Elders do strange things. Yesterday as Syster Stewart and I were going to breakfast, we heard 3 elders imitating wookies, and today, a ton of them were singing Lizzie McGuire at breakfast.
But they’re all nice to the sisters, so it works out.
By the way, it’s FREEZING in Provo! Today while Syster Stewart and I were walking back from the gym, it started snowing. I think I left my tights in the laundry room because I can’t find them, but they would be nice right about now (hint-hint; wink-wink; nod-nod).
Our district is small, there’s Syster Stewart and me and a tripanionship of Äldste Brinkworth, Äldste Allen, och Äldste James. Our zone includes the Norwegians and our lone Dutch. It’s awesome. Eldste Edwards (Norway) is from England, and Syster Stewart regularly gets in trouble for imitating his accent without realizing it.
The language is hard, and I wish I’d more time in my scriptures. We had our first investigator, Johan, today. It was a train-wreck, but we made it through. Studying with Dad has definitely been a HUGE help. I’m understanding at least the gist of everything our teachers say, and I was able to help min kamrat translate a lot of what Johan said. Okay, maybe not a lot, but a few things.
I’m not homesick, but I do think about you guys all the time. You’ll have to tell me how Paige decided to ask Matt to Sadie’s and how Haley’s soccer season is going. I found a Pokemon card Nate gave me before leaving today -- tell him I love him and I miss him tons. Kiss Gus for me.
Love you guys, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mission Address

I'm headed out later today, and I wanted to give one last goodbye. From here on out, my blog's going to be run by my beautiful mom and sister.

While my mission home address is right, the MTC address on the sidebar isn't correct for anyone who's interested in writing me; it's actually:

Sister Emily Ellen Maxwell
2011 N 900 E Unit 252
Provo, UT 84602

I'm excited to get to the MTC, and hopefully posts start showing up here regularly! See you all in 18 months!

Farewell Talk

As I was getting ready to write this talk, the words of a hymn came to mind:
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

A few years ago in Seminary, we were asked to do something for the new year to help us remember the Savior every day. I decided that every day I would write down something the Lord had blessed me with that day. And every day for about 2 years now, I have.
I never thought much would come of it other than to keep me grateful, but I was proved wrong a few weeks ago. I was feeling alone. Many of my friends are already out on missions, and everyone else is at school or work, which has often left me home alone. I was struggling a lot right then, and I remember praying to my Heavenly Father for peace and strength as I continued to prepare for my mission. The thought came to me to read me gratitude journal. As I opened it and read, I got a glimpse of how much my Heavenly Father loved me, and how involved He is in my life.
 While reflecting on gratitude, a verse in Moses 1 came to mind, where we read that Moses “Knew that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.” Initially, it doesn’t seem to have much to do with gratitude. But if man really is really nothing, then we have a lot to be grateful for, because we have been given everything by a kind Heavenly Father.
In a session of April 1992 general conference, President Monson instructed us to ever have an attitude of gratitude. I came across that quote a few years ago, and it’s come to mean a lot to me, particularly as I’m getting ready to leave on my mission, and I realize how blessed I am in my life.
It’s been an enormous blessing in my life to have been raised in the church where, since primary, I’ve been taught that I’m a child of God. This actually got me into trouble a few months ago in Young Women’s. I don’t remember exactly what the lesson was on, but we’d gotten side-tracked on how so many women struggle with self-confidence and self worth. I’m listening to it, and all I can think is, “Why? I’m surrounded by beautiful, capable, intelligent women.” And, I’ll admit, I was a little frustrated, but I was trying to come up with some spiritual tie in, so I raised my hand. I’m sure the leaders were expecting some profound comment, but instead what came out of my mouth was, “I’m sorry, I think I’m awesome.”
And the laurels class just stared at me.
Not that I can blame them; I don’t think anyone was expecting to hear that at that moment. But, (at the risk of sounding cocky), I’ll still say it’s true. I am a daughter of our Heavenly Father, who loves me, and I love Him. We said that every week in Young Women’s. I think it’s important that it is the first thing we say, because it’s true, and too often we forget. Heavenly Father, the God of all loved each of us enough to send his Only Son to be sacrificed and atone for our sins so that one day we could live with Him again, because it’s His work and His glory “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
I am far from perfect, and I’m going to be fighting my entire life to become perfect. I am one of the most flawed people I know. I mess up every day. But, despite that, my Heavenly Father still thinks there’s something worth saving in me. He sees something amazing in me. The scriptures teach that God is omnipotent, and D&C 18:10 says “The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” One of my favorite quotes is by Marianne Williamson. “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God!” He sees something amazing in each of us, and even if we can’t always see it, it will always be there, and He will always love us.
I’m reminded of that love every time I go to the temple. It is impossible to deny it, whether you are doing ordinances for the dead, doing ordinances for yourself, or watching someone else go through for themselves.
A few weeks ago, I was able to go through the temple as one my friends received her endowment. Afterwards, in the celestial room, I was waiting my turn to congratulate her, and was watching as other friends and family went to congratulate her and give her a hug. Everyone was beaming, I don’t remember seeing a single straight face, and it was clear how much they loved her, and how proud they were of her. It made me think what it will be like when we’re finally allowed to enter the Celestial Kingdom, and how overjoyed we’ll be to be with our loved ones forever. I remember thinking, “Heavenly Father, if this is what the Celestial Kingdom is like, then I want it.”
I’m so excited to be able to go out and tell others that the church has been restored and temples are on the earth again, and they can be sealed to their loved ones- their parents, siblings, children, and sweethearts- for time and eternity.
I love my family; I don’t know where I’d be without them.  My mom and sisters are my best friends, as are my dad and brother, who are amazing examples to me of strength and forgiveness. I can’t imagine eternity without them, and every day I pray that one day we’ll get there.
But, as we’ve already established, I’m not perfect, and I’m not going to be for quite a while, so the atonement and the idea of forgiveness are necessary. I was trying to come up with what to say about the atonement, and I couldn’t come up with a thing. Then, the other day as I was praying, a story from elementary school came to mind. When I was about 9, I had a friend at school that I would do almost everything with, but we fought A LOT. One day, I came home from school crying, and I was trying to tell my mom. She told me she’d heard it the day before, and to just let it go, which of course, made no sense to my 9-year-old brain, so I went to my room to keep grumbling to myself. And in the middle of grumbling, I suddenly found myself praying for this friend, that she would know that I loved her, and that our Heavenly Father loved her, and that even if it was hard at times, I wanted to keep being friends. And I was able to forgive her and completely move on at that point. We would still fight, but I learned that forgiveness is not a one time thing, but more a process. In the years since, I’ve had to apply that over and over again, to myself and others.
D&C 64 reads, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” Forgiveness can be hard; people will offend you accidentally or on purpose, they’ll hurt you repeatedly. It’s hard to forgive yourself when you’ve made a mistake. It’s not easy; many times, forgiveness is a day-by-day decision. But the atonement has made it possible to forgive as the Savior forgave. During his mortal ministry, he would forgive and heal those that most would never approach. In the atonement, he did the same thing. Each of us can be forgiven and made clean again. We can be made whole and our sins will be remembered no more.

I love the idea of being made clean. It’s part of why baptism and the sacrament are so beautiful. And of course we’ll make mistakes, but hopefully we learn from them, going forward with faith that our sins are remembered no more. To me that is a promise that you can be more than you were the day before, for this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God. Every day, we can grow and stretch ourselves. To me, it is a lot like practicing a musical instrument. I remember when I was little and just starting, that there were some things that were hard, and I’d like to thank my mother for not taking my violin back to the shop after every tantrum I had when I didn’t get something. But just because I didn’t understand something or didn’t quite have it right didn’t mean that I quit. Day by day, I kept working, and slowly, I became a better musician. Now, fourteen or fifteen years later, I can look back at all I worked through. It was hard, and there were definitely times I wanted to get back, but looking at the music I can play now and how much I love it, there is no way I would give it up, and I can see a similar pattern in my regular life, as I look at how I’ve grown in the gospel and how it has already made more of me than I could ever have been on my own.

And here's one last picture of me and some of the most amazing girls I know!