Monday, March 17, 2014

To commit Missionary-cide

So, it's been an exciting/interesting week. Want to know what the first thing people say is when they see Syster Robbins and me? 'How many days do you have left, Syster Robbins?' For the record, she has 3. According to missionary lingo, I will be 'killing' Syster Robbins this week and sending her home to the Good Ol' US of A. Super weird. All of my companions are officially fleeing the country. I promise I shower every day, and I don't bite them or beat them up. They all just kind of end up on the other side of the Atlantic. Hopefully I break this worrisome pattern and stop sending companions out of Sweden. Oh well, Goodbye Syster McCollaum, Syster Eriksson, and Syster Robbins, and enjoy a land of ziplock bags, Reese's peanut-butter cups, and free public restrooms.

As it is, we've gotten a BUTTLOAD more lessons this past week because of it, and as it is, we already have 7 planned in the next 36 hours- which may not sound like a lot to some people, but when you take into account how much time it takes travel anywhere by pendeltåg or tunnelbana, as well as the fact that about 10 of those next 36 hours are p-day, it's quite a bit.

As it is, I am continually amazed by the love of the members here. Syster Robbins has been in Gubbängen for FOREVER, and the ward has come to love her very dearly, and it's amazing to see how many people are suddenly cramming in to say their last goodbyes and to wish her well in the future. It's absolutely insane to see how much this ward has for one missionary.

However, Syster Robbins is not the only one that is being subjected to missionary-cide. I've rediscovered my allergies recently to everything with fur. It's great. I touch a dog or a cat, and I've got puffy red eyes and I'm crying and itching my face for the next 4 hours or so. I have yet to have anyone ask me why my eyes are watering, but if they do, I will say to my dying day that I just feel the spirit so strongly. Anyways, I mentioned a few weeks ago there were some members here who have a cat that is in love with me. Evil creature. We were visiting them the other day, and, as usual, Mia (the cat) went right up to my backpack and starting snuggling with it, and rubbing against it. And then we went to dinner. And the cat decided to jump on the table. Right next to me. She then walked right across my plate, and then trie to rub up against my face. I had no option but to grab her and push her off the table, and I spent the rest of dinner struggling not to touch my already itching face. I'm telling you, that cat is set on murdering me! Animals are just fun....

Anyways, I'm not dead yet, so that's good. Last week was also great in that we had zone conference. I am continually amazed by President and Syster Newell and their love for the missionaries, as well as their ability to make me see the gospel in a whole new light. There was a phrase that was used several times in Zone Conference that I absolutely loved: We are an Easter people. We look forward to the Resurrection, and know that through Christ we can do all things. In our trials and our hardships, we know that as we hold out faithful, we'll eventually be blessed more than we can even begin to imagine. In Malachi 3:10, it specifically mentions tithing, but I think it could apply to every sacrifice we make for our Heavenly Father, that as we are faithful, He will 'open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.' 

I sort of had an a-ha moment during zone conference. We use the meaning of life in contacting all the time (and I have to say, it is amazing how many people in Sweden have never wondered what the meaning of their life is), and we tell them that God has a plan for us here on Earth, and that He is our loving Heavenly Father, and wants us to return home to Him one day. But I finally connected the dots this week, that the doctrine of Christ, or the missionary purpose, is really how we do that. It's why we are here. To help others and ourselves come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. We're here to learn and grow in God's prescribed way, and this is it. I think it's amazing how many opportunities I have already had to apply this as a missionary and to really learn what an impact it can make in my life every day.

Ooh, one other semi-exciting part of zone conference: we have iPhones! Well, except for here in Gubbängen. Just the sisters. For some reason, we never got service on our new phone, and we're hoping to get that up and running today. As it is, our current phone has gotten a new name. Classy Claire the Crapper Phone. It started out as just the crapper phone, because it freezes every time we try to call somebody and exits out of text messages halfway through typing. Then I realized I was being disrespectful to the phone, and that if I wanted it to continue to function so that we could use it, I should probably give it a nice name. So now, it's Classy Claire.

And yeah. The only other news I can really think of is that I have officially begun forgetting English words for things. The other day I was at a members, and we were talking. Swedes are very fond of their ekologiska foods, and you see it all the time. I realized however, that we don't call food ekologisk in English, and it took me twenty minutes and asking the member to get on Google Translate to realize that 'ekologisk' foods are 'organic' in English. And this after only six months. I apologize in advance if I make it home in a year, and no one can understand a thing I say because I use swenglish every time I forget a word. And if I use Swedish grammar for things. It's just bad.

Anyhoo, love you all, and I hope you have a fantastic week!

Syster Maxwell

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