Monday, March 3, 2014

"Hug Someone Today" says Momma Maxwell

Well, the weather in Sweden continues to be bipolar. It was sunny this week, but undeniably humid as well, which makes it feel colder than it really is. We've had rain and even snow in the past week, but it always is so sunny in the next few hours that the snow doesn't stick. I don't claim to understand the weather, I just live here.

But as it is, I'm getting more and more excited for våren, or spring, to get here in Sweden. We are starting to see tiny little flowers poke their head up out of the dirt, and I'm still hunting leaves on bushes and trees. That, and, I have to admit it would be nice to get out of my big boots and parka.

Things are still going well with Syster Robbins and me. It's so strange that I've been here in Gubbängen for almost four weeks, and that in two weeks, Syster Robbins and Syster McCollaum will both be headed home to Utah. I would briefly like to wonder why it is that all of my companions leave me for the United States (or the far reaches of the mission in Syster Stewart's case). Really, Syster Eriksson left me for the MTC, and now two more of my companions are leaving Sweden too. It's going to be really fun at zone conferences when everybody else is going to hug their old companions, and I'm sitting in a corner like 'All of my companions are dead.' (That would be in the missionary sense, meaning they have left the mission.) But you know, it's good, it just means that the Lord has need of them somewhere else for now.

Lessons this week were a little bit harder. I don't know what it was, but there were a few days this week that we had set up many lessons for the day, and by the time we finished comp study, all but one or two had fallen through. It was frustrating in many ways, but we're continuing to do our best to get lessons in and to find those who are ready to receive the gospel.

I suppose in one way this was a blessing. I got very sick with a cold on Friday. Not so sick that I HAD to be in bed all day, but sick enough that in hindsight, that might not have been bad. As it was, we went out after lunch for about three hours in which we bought me cough drops and tissues, swung by a less active in Tyresö, and then headed home, where Syster Robbins promptly banished me to bed while she made dinner. On Saturday, I was feeling a bit better, but again, essentially all of our lessons fell through. The only explanation I have for this is Heavenly Father was protecting the world from Syster Maxwell's cold, and wanted to ensure that those we taught really would feel better after having a visit from the Sister Missionaries.

We did, however, have one exceptional lesson this week. On Thursday night, we had a lesson with a less active named Dorothy. She's one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met, with a firm faith. For years, she's debated between the Swedish Curch and the LDS church. On Thursday, we decided to read through President Monson's talk from the last General Relief Society Meeting, 'We Never Walk Alone.' It's an amazing talk, and not just for women. I would almost copy and paste the talk into my email this week, it's just that good. In any case, we talked with her, and at the end of the lesson, Syster Robbins decided on a whim to leave the Liahona with her. It was an extra copy we had recieved to give to a new convert who'd left to go to Africa soon after his baptism, and we didn't really have a need for it.

And we left, not really making more of it. It wasn't until later that night that anything significant happened. We got a voicemail from Dorothy while we were in another lesson saying that she had something exciting to tell us. We called her back as soon as we got to the apartment, where she told us that she'd read a little more in the Liahona. She'd set it down to go do other things, and was simply thinking about everything and nothing when she was suddenly hit with the knowledge the church was true. She couldn't say she had a perfect knowledge of every priniciple of the gospel, but she knew it was true.

And when she came to church on Sunday, it was amazing to see the complete change in her. Where she had been shy and timid, she was bright, happy, and confident. She got up and bore her testimony, and took a very active part in all of the classes afterwards. It was amazing to see what an enormous change was made in her in just two short days. It's really amazing to see what a light and difference the gospel can make in all of our lives.

In closing, I would like to say how grateful I am for the Plan of Salvation, and that we as missionaries get the chance to study it, teach it, and see the wonders that knowledge can work in our lives. I don't know where I would be today without it, and the knowledge I have that there is a purpose to everything in this life, even if we don't learn to understand it until the next. This morning as we were on our way to the church, Syster Robbins and I got a text from the office saying that an elder in our mission was hit by a car last night in Västerås and that he passed away shortly thereafter. We don't really have any details beyond that. I do however know that the hearts and prayers of the mission are with him and his family. I can't claim to have known this elder well, in fact, I don't know if I ever met him, but I know that we all as missionaries feel this deeply.

It is a blessing and a privilege to be here in Sweden at this time. I haven't been out very long, but I already know that I wouldn't trade the time I've had here for anything else. I have grown so much already, and it's been amazing to see the light the gospel can bring into others lives. I know that through the Atonement, all of our wounds and hurt can be taken away, all of the grime and filth of the world are washed away, and that we truly can come to feel peace, joy, and confidence as we press forward with an eye single to the glory of God. I'm grateful for my Heavenly Father and the knowledge that I have that he knows every one of His children individually, and that He loves us more than we can even imagine.

I love you all. You're in my thoughts and prayers all the time, and I pray that all can come to know the truthfulness of the gospel. It is the biggest blessing in my life, and I don't dare to imagine who I would be without it.

Syster Maxwell

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