Before I get all emotional, I'll go through the last week., we went to the Vasa Museum down in Stockholm and hung out with a bunch of missionaries I've become friends with in the last year. Guys if you are ever in Stockholm GO TO THE VASA. IT IS THE MOST AMAZING MUSEUM YOU WILL EVER GO TO AND THE SHIP IS AMAZING. And getting to go to the YSA center- I have been so blessed for the last year and a half to be surrounded by so many missionaries, and I loved getting to see so many of them one last time before heading home.
Otherwise this week...... let's see....We started teaching an amazing new investigator named Kim this week. She's investigated the church before, but she's finally feeling like she might be able to make the commitment to be baptized and so she brought herself to Family Home Evening and church, and teaching her, it's been absolutely amazing to see how much she already knows and how much of a desire she has to know more.
We also got to go out to the house of a woman (named Emeron) in the ward to help clean up her yard. Her husband passed away about two weeks ago, so she's been needing a little extra help around the house and the yard. And guys, she lives out in the countryside, meaning her house is surrounded by farmland. Meaning her yard is ENORMOUS. It was so rewarding to go out and to just throw everything into getting some good ol' fashioned yard work done and then set all the weeds and branches on fire. Like, the fire we had going was made to rival Valborg fires at least in the volume of wood and garbage consumed. It was amazing to see the difference we made in the yard ( I personally worked at clearing an entire hillside of foot-long grass. I felt accomplished by the end), to see her gratitude for us, and as well as that, to hear that she'd had friends and neighbors call as they drove by to see what was going on at the house and if they could help and how she was able to turn that into a missionary experience and talking about missionaries and the church's emphasis on service.
.... was emotional. It still doesn't feel entirely real that I've been to my last sacrament meeting in Swedish for a while. The next time I go to church, it'll be in a Utah ward of several hundred, and I'm still not sure if it'll be more shocking to have that many people there or to have everything happen in perfect English with no translation necessary. As it was, it was a little strange to say goodbye to so many of the people I've come to love in the last three months here in Uppsala. When the bishop got up to announce I would be leaving, he told the ward 'Sister Maxwell is going to be transferred to the Bountiful Utah Marriage Mission,' Oj då. And to top it off, the next person to get up then pushed it farther by saying, 'And that's a calling Syster Maxwell. Fulfill and magnify it.' People! I've still got a nametag on! And no boyfriend. Don't get too excited over this whole thing. After church, we went over to the Hawley's for one last dinner before I leave . I seriously have been so spoiled in my last area, and I'm so grateful for that, and for the amazing missionaries I've served around.
Today, we went to the Tolley's to have breakfast before heading to the Nordiska Museum down in Stockholm with Sister DeMille and Sister Stewart. The museum was AMAZING (I now wish I'd visited more museums while I was in Stockholm), and we went to the YSA center one last time and I got to see my baby, Sister Allen one last time as well as Elder James from my group.
And now comes the emotional tirade. Prep yourselves; I'm not entirely sure what pent-up emotions are going to come out here guys. It's so insane to think thatis my last full proselyting day. We've got some amazing lessons set up with investigators and members, and then I'm heading to the mission home and then the air port. It's crazy how quickly the last 18 months have come and gone. It didn't always feel so fast in the middle of it, but now looking back, I feel like the time went way too quickly, but I am so grateful for everything I've been able to learn and experience for myself, and above all, I'm so grateful for the chance I've had to learn for myself that the greatest joy in life comes from living the gospel and loving and serving others. I have come to know my Savior so much more personally in the last few months, and to really see a small part of how much His loving, guiding hand is involved in even the smallest details of our lives. I know that our Heavenly Father loves and knows each one of us personally and wants so much for us to find happiness both in this life and in eternity. I'm so grateful for the relationship I've been able to build up with Him in the last few months as I've learned to rely and trust in the Lord.
And now, I'm going to do the very typical missionary thing, but there's a Swedish hymn that I've come to love throughout my mission that describes both our relationship to the Lord and how I've drawn closer to Him throughout my mission. Ironically (since I'm 'dying' this week) the hymn is a funeral hymn called 'Blott en dag' or, in English, 'Day by Day'.
Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Power;
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.
Help me then, in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy word.
Help me, Lord, when toi and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.
I love the church, and I love the gospel. I'm so grateful for the time I've had to serve as a full-time minister in helping others to come unto Christ and to recieve the joy of the gospel in their lives. I'm so grateful to have been blessed to serve in Sweden- the Motherland, as my Dad calls it- and to come to know and love the land I've heard about since I was born and to FINALLY understand the language my Dad still speaks at home. I'm grateful for the chance I've had to see my Heavenly Father's hand in my life and in the lives of so many I've come to love in the last 18 months.
I love you all, I STILL miss you like a fat-kid misses cake, but never fear- the waiting's done. I'll see you all! Kramar!
Syster Emily Ellen Maxwell