Monday, February 23, 2015

I'll See You in Some Hour!

Well, it's been another fabulous week here in the Uppsala. It's a little weird to realize I've already been here as long as I have. It's actually just a little freaky. Last week I sent Sister Bass home to Utah, and I got Sister Modersitzki in her place, which has been so fun. She's super cute, and she's hardworking, but still chill and knows how to have fun. I'm so excited to see what we'll get to do together here in Uppsala for the next few weeks. 

Okay, so we'll back up to Monday and Tuesday before Sister Bass left. We spent most of the time saying goodbye to people. I also discovered the American store down in Stan, and I'm in love. They had large jars of JIF peanut-butter that I think I might go back for today. Along with Reeses Puffs. And every flavor of Pop-tart ever known to mankind. And a SHRINE to Jello. It was HEAVEN. And Tuesday was spent going around to a lot of members and saying goodbye. It was a lot of fun and A LOT of food. There was one family it was really fun to go to. While they made tacos (I'm still waiting for an American taco with cheddar cheese and guacamole, but these were still pretty good), we got to play with their daughters and I somehow ended up giving pony rides. For the record, that is NOT an easy job in a skirt, but it was so fun to get to spend some time with that family and get to know them better.Tuesday night we SUCCESSFULLY lit a paper boat on fire and sent it down the river and off to Valhalla before Bass left on Wednesday.

Wednesday and Thursday were kind of crazy just getting everyone settled and then having district meeting and then going on splits with Gävle. It was super fun to get to work with those sisters and get to know them better. 

Friday was another knitting night (yay! I'm getting so good, it's crazy. We get enough train time that it's worth it to have something to do besides just calling people. It gets old after an hour or so). Saturday we went to a few different appointments and did our weekly planning. While we were in Stan last week contacting, we were walking through Stora Torget and we heard this guy shout across the square in English to his girlfriend, 'I'll see you in some hour!' I died laughing. Generally speaking, everyone here is so good at speaking English, but sometimes things come out just a little funny (for the record, no judging me if I speak like them when I get home!!).

Sunday........ Sunday was interesting. First time I've missed a Sunday my entire mission. I woke up in the middle of the night and just got sick. Like, ew. No. But I am so grateful for all the love and support I got from my companion, the senior couples here in Uppsala, the elders, and the Lord who I'm SURE was keeping me from getting any sicker and was taking care of me. Seriously, I've been the most spoiled sister missionary ever known to Sweden for the last 36 hours. I've also decided I'm never EVER taking another sick day on my mission. It was frustrating. I got sick the day after weekly planning, so a lot of area book and calling people was taken care of, so I sat in bed and watched the D&C visual resources and read an entire Ensign and a few chapters of Jesus the Christ while occasionally getting up to walk the tiny area of our apartment to keep from going completely crazy. And the whole day I was just stressing over who had been at church and who we'd needed to talk to and whether or not they were being taken care of and wanting to go out and do stuff. So, I've decided I'll never get sick ever again. There's just too much to get done, and far too little time to do it.

I love you all so much, don't get sick (it seriously sucks), and I miss you tons!

Syster Maxwell 

Monday, February 16, 2015

They Call Me Killer

Hejsan allihoppa!

Well, it's been a crazy good week here in the Uppsala. Little weird. It's Bass' last week, so here goes 'killing' (sending home) a companion ROUND 3.  After September, I thought my killing days were over, but they managed to pull this one out last second. Oh well, after this, my list of possible victims comes to a big fat zero, so my 'killing sprees' are over.  Terrible, right? Oh well. It's been so much fun getting to serve with her for the last seven weeks (it seriously feels like it's been two or three weeks and not seven!), and I'm going to miss her. Oh well. So, the new comp gets in Wednesday, and then it's back to missionary work as usual!

So, this week has been great. I've discovered it's a bird-eat-bird-world out there quite literally. There's a little patch of forest we walk through behind our apartment on the way to the church, and the other day (there's deer that live in there. Just like home!), and as we were walking up, we noticed a bunch of feathers on the ground. At first I thought, 'molting bird' and then we realized it was like, more feathers than any bird sheds when molting, and that it was the big feathers, and then we realized there was blood on the ice. So, we walked into the forest like, 'what the heck' and got down into the trees just in time to see a large bird fly away with a small bird dangling from it's feet, leaving behind all sorts of feathers and blood and other nastiness. Thank you, Sweden, for working so hard to protect nature that it literally lives and dies in your backyard.

We also held a funeral for Bass at district meeting. I made a paper-boat and tried to set it on fire in a giant pot of water so it could float off to Valhalla and she could have a proper viking funeral, but the paper wouldn't hold a flame, so it ended up getting singed around the edges and then sinking to the bottom instead.  We might try to reenact this with a more desirable result (such as the boat actually catching on fire and not sinking like a rock). We'll see.

In news not related to dead or dying things, it's been a great week for missionary work. Our investigator, Fontana, is still making leaps and bounds towards baptism, and we're hoping to see that happen in the next few weeks. We also got to meet with a few TU's this who were pretty positive. It's been a huge blessing, and I'm so grateful to finally see the work picking back up. It's fair to say it's taken us this long to get us out of the Christmas rut of everybody leaving or just not being interested. I blame it less on the holidays and more on the lack of sunlight, but in any case, it's been wonderful to see people starting to open up a little more and be more and more willing to stop and talk with us or give us a number so we can call and set up a lesson for the week. 

I love you all, and I miss you like a fat kid misses cake. 

Syster Maxwell

Monday, February 9, 2015

Going off the Rails on a Crazy Train

Hej hej!

Well, another week come and gone. And like, it was a crazy week. We have been pretty much everywhere possible this week, and it was SOOO FUN. Like,Tuesday was crazy just because we were all over Uppsala and then were rushing like mad for a train up to Sundsvall that night, which, luckily, we made it to in time.
And that train ride.... we got put in a four-seater with one of the sweetest old men you'll ever meet.  He was VERY talkative. Like, the entire three-hour ride, he would have talked to us if we could have heard him well enough over the sound of the train. I think he still is convinced that we're JW's, and as sweet as he was, he wouldn't let us get off the train without giving us both chocolate bars, a few crowns, and trying to convince us that we should go to Max burger with him once we got off the train. Never fear, we just went on to the sisters' apartment, but I got off that train thinking there was no way I would ever have a crazier train ride (I was wrong).
Splits went great up there, we have great sisters up in Sundsvall, I made the amazing discovery after 16 months that chicken nuggets exist in Sweden, and it was so cool to get to see a little more of the area, but it was on the way back..... oj. Like, Friday and Saturday are party days in Sweden. Apparently Wednesday was the mid-week party to make it through to the weekend. We got on the train at 6:00, and that entire train ride, we were sitting in view of the bistro car, and I just stopped counting how many people were going back and forth with alcohol that night. Like, by the end of an hour, the people ahead of us were speaking the loudest, most slurred Skånish I've ever heard, and I lived in Malmö in the summer! I'm still not sure if it was the lurching of the train or the effects of alcohol, but most people walking past us to and from the bistro were NOT walking in a straight line, and I think the highlight of the night is when one man stopped to wait in front of the bathroom with a large 'Out of Order' sign on the front and started singing at the top of his lungs. Not necessarily what I envisioned when I opened my call, but roligt none the less.
And then the day after that, we went out to Borlängefor district meeting, and since we were already that far out there, we got to take a little detour to the Dala häst factory and see them actually making the beautiful things. Guys, they are so freaking talented. Like, while sitting talking to people in both english and swedish, they're just carving away and painting those things like it's no big deal, and meanwhile, the horses come out SO BEAUTIFUL.
So pretty much, I didn't get a ton of time here in Uppsala, but what time we did have was fantastic. We've finally started building up our teaching pool a little, and so we have one investigator who's so close to baptism, and it's so fantastic to see the change in him since I came here a few weeks ago. He literally looks different. There is light in his face, and he is so much more alive in so many ways. Guys, it is so crazy to see what a blessing, a light, and a joy the gospel can be to people, and I love that I get to be here to see it. We've also started working with a woman from Mexico who is absolutely amazing. Like, the sweetest woman I've ever met, and she really has a desire to come closer to the Savior.
Otherwise, life is great. Like, seriously, the sun is starting to come back out. I have gained a solid testimony out here on my mission that a little light can go a long way. After several months of just not seeing the sun, it's crazy how much just 10 minutes of sunlight can lift and change your day, and I think it's so applicable to the work we're out here to do. We NEED to have that light the gospel brings into our lives, even if all we get at different periods is a brief glimpse of sun before it goes back behind the clouds of trials and temptations. And I can feel the difference it makes each and every day as I realize the sun is starting to come up before studies, and setting around 5:00 rather than coming up as I'm leaving after companionship study, and starting to go down an hour or two after lunch.
So, there's my week! Love y'all! Stay classy!
Syster Maxwell

Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy Love Month! a.k.a. February....


Well, it literally hasn't stopped snowing in Uppsala since Friday night. But, lest any of you think that I'm experiencing that freezing Swedish winter everyone warned me about when I was coming out, it's been sitting right around freezing the entire time, so there's only about 4 inches of snow to show for it, and walking around, I feel like my big coat and gloves are an option rather than a necessity. But, on the plus side, my white winter finally came. In February! 

This past week was really good. We're still putting a really big emphasis on finding work.

I know that there are people here in Uppsala who are ready and waiting for the gospel right now, but, we're going through a trial of both faith and patience before we can find them. So, we swing by everyone on every list, call them, and then talk to literally everyone we see. And repeat. And repeat again. There's a quote that comes to mind- 'insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.' The difference here is that essentially everyone I've ever taught has been found through this exact same process, so I know it's not insanity, it's just.... taking longer than usual right now. We'll blame it on the snow.
However, lest things sound all gloom and doom, things have actually gone well with the people we've met with in the last week. The investigator we've been focusing on has been making huge progress, and right now, we're just helping him to overcome his last few issues before baptism. We were hoping he'd be ready by last weekend, but when it came out that he still had a few things to work through, we decided to post-pone the baptism. However, I know how much he wants it, and I know that since coming to Uppsala 5 weeks ago, I've seen a change in him, and that, even though he may not be ready this very instant, it will come. So, we're going to continue meeting with him.

We've also been working with a few ny omvänds and less actives, and they're all doing really well. It's amazing to see the difference having friends in the ward can make for people, and really, I do feel like we've got a great ward here who are fantastic about helping new people and very missionary-minded in that when someone they don't recognize comes in, they go talk to them and take care of them. It really is such a blessing!

Otherwise.... we went to the ward knitting night on Friday, which was super fun! We had a few less active members who came, and it was great getting to see them interact with the ward, and in the meantime, learn a little more about knitting. Like, I'm very aware I sound like an old grandma as I say this, but it seems like everyone here can knit, and they make these beautiful scandinavian patterns, and ultimately, I've decided I want to get that good. I'm not sure when, given that as missionaries, we don't have a ton of time to just sit and knit to our hearts content, but one day, I'll be freakin' good.
And outside of that, really, I just feel in so many ways this past week that I've gotten the chance to see a little bit more of how much our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of his children. Not necessarily in any specific instance, but just generally speaking and in my studies, I feel like my faith that everything our Heavenly Father does is out of love for his children and their well-being has been strengthened so much this past week. He DOES love us so much more than we can understand, and while there are things we don't always understand about the gospel or about why things happen in life, we can rest assured that there is a kind and loving Heavenly Father guiding us along who knows and understands everything.

So, there's this past week! Love you all tons! 
Syster Maxwell