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Thursday, July 24, 2014

STREETS ARE LITERALLY RIVERS!! EMAIL 7/22/2014

Monsoon Weather!!

"Being soaking wet after literally 5 seconds from our car to our apartment"



Familia!!!

Well this week has been as crazy as usual!! Almost every night we get a huge monsoon. When I first came on the mission I didn't believe everyone that said El Paso has a "monsoon season." Boy was I wrong... I have never seen storms like these in my whole life. The streets literally become rivers and sometimes we have to go home early because of flooding. Its always really exciting though!
We should have a baptism this Sunday!!!!! Jazmin, Mauricio and their 8 year old sister June are all getting baptized :) We are suuuuper stoked. Its been a long while since I've had a baptism. We have been seeing our area grow soo much lately. Finding a lot of new people to teach and enjoying every second. We are teaching this family (cant remember if I told you already) named LF Nassi. They are so adorable. The 21 year old Yuni is especially interested. Every time we come over they excitedly pull out the two "best chairs" and listen attentively. I don't think they quite "get it" yet... that we are here to help them be baptized but the Dad loves having us teach his kids about God. Since we are so close to Juarez its hard to get people to church because everyone hops the border on the weekends... its been a problem my whole mission. So we are praying they will stay this weekend so they can come to church.
Yesterday Hermana Mitchell had her departing interview... its been really weird because we often talk about going home and life afterwards. We have also had a lot of deep doctrinal discussions about the gospel and life in general and how we want to apply the things we have learned on our missions in our everyday lives. I know i've said it a billion times but I am SO unbelievably grateful for the mission. Every day I kneel down and thank my heavenly father for it. Its really something that I hold very sacred. Just wanted to share a thought I had yesterday about receiving revelation/recognizing answers. I think we all doubt sometimes if we really know these things are true. Its like we are expecting that "moment" everyone talks about that we all of a sudden just know. All my life i've kind of expected huge spiritual manifestations or at least big confirmations of my testimony. But last night as we were talking after her interview I realized something. This is what I wrote down after I received this little "revelation" I guess you could say: "We often expect God to manifest himself in big extraordinary ways but that's not the way he works. Each of us is born with a little bit of God already in us so being near him shouldn't feel extraordinary. It should feel natural."  Ive never been closer to God in my life than on the mission... but sometimes I worry that I don't have those giant moments when I know all this is true. But I realized that those times in life when we are closest to God... it should feel normal and natural...not some huge "answer." Because that's what real life should be... close to him... not anything different. President told us that the mission is the "realest life ever gets".. we don't go home to "Real life." Anyways.. its just interesting. I cant explain it in words very adequately... but it totally changed my perspective on my testimony.
I love you all so much... more than you have any idea. I cant wait for the rest of eternity with you :) Cant believe i'm at my year. Its definitely bitter.... more than sweet haha. But a little sweet at the same time. Have an amazing week. I LOVE YOU!!
 
Hermana Maxwell
 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"KNEEL" TO PRAY! EMAIL 7/15/2014

SISTER SPIDERWOMAN!



HEY THERE!
 
This week has been BUSY. Well missionary life is always busy but its even busier now that I am a sister training leader. There is not a single moment where we are not rushing. But its rushing for God so its all worth it :) Plus I go to bed super happy and content because I know that I really gave my all. We did two sets of exchanges this week! I got to go back to Ysleta for a day!!! It was wonderful. I got to see Alice, Jesus and Josefina and a few members. They were all jumping up and down to see me. It was lots of fun but it definitely made me realize that HERE is where Im supposed to be serving. I no longer have stewardship over that area.. so Im happier here with hna Mitchell! I love serving and helping the sisters. Today we are throwing a crepe partay for them before zone sports. Hermana Mitchell showed me how to make Swedish crepes... super good. Ill have to bring that recipe home for sure.
I have never felt more unified with a companion in my life. We truly are working together for the same purpose and have the same mindset. Because of that we have seen billions of miracles and have seen a huge increase in our numbers. We should have a baptism on the 26th!! :) Their names are Jazmin, Mauricio, and June. They are kids of a recent convert that we have been teaching for awhile. I love them so much. Super excited for them. its been so long since I've had a baptism.
Its still hot here but we are now in Monsoon weather!!! And let me tell you... they are definitely monsoons. It will be super hot and then all of a sudden it will start pouring out of nowhere and water just fills the streets. Super cool. and it cools things down for awhile so we love them.
A couple things I've learned this week is simply just how much Heavenly Father loves us. He will ALWAYS answers our prayers. A quote from Eyring I read this week was "I thank you for kneeling down to pray every night even when you don't have all the answers" I really liked that. Even if we don't feel worthy to pray, or if we have questions, or anything... we ALWAYS need to pray. and KNEEL when we do. I will never ever lay in bed to pray again after my mission. There is such power in kneeling.  I also learned how fragile life is... we had a bit of a scare/close car crash and lets just say angels were protecting us. Nothing to worry about. But I realized how quickly life can be taken. So live every day with gratitude in your heart. Life is beautiful... and I know that it is meant to be HAPPY. "happiness can be a state of being."
I love you all so much and am so grateful for the examples you are to me. Keep it up. and stay classy.
 
Love,
 
Hermana Maxwell

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ENJOY THE SMALL MOMENTS! EMAIL 7/8/2014

Fun ride to Missionary Leadership Council

Tons of planning being a STL

Exchange with Sister Smith

3 former companions now all STL's * WOW awesome bunch

QUE TAL?
 Goodness life sounds busy at home that's for sure!! My only advice is to enjoy the small moments. That is one of the things I have learned most on my mission is just really taking a moment to breathe and look around you. There have been so many things I have taken for granted like watching a movie while eating cookies downstairs, or laughing at the dinner table, or pushing a little cousin on the swings, or laying out at lake powell, etc etc. There is SO much we have to be grateful for. Sometimes its hard when there is SO much going on but time flies so ridiculously fast.. before we know it we blink and its gone. I feel that way about my mission too.. cant believe im coming up on my year. 
I don't even know where to start out. This week has been one of my favorite weeks of my whole mission. I absolutely LOVE my new calling. We are soooo busy... don't even have time to breathe but I honestly have never been happier in my whole life. I lay in bed every night and just thank my heavenly father over and over again for this beautiful experience of my mission. I have always wanted to say 100% I love my mission... but up until now I haven't been able to say I really LOVE it you know? But honestly now.. I can. All those cliché things they say about the mission are so true. best two years... most selfish thing ive ever done... etc etc. are ALL true. Coming up on my year isn't a very enjoyable experience for me. I mean don't get me wrong I love you all so so much and cant wait to see you... but.. I just never want to leave. This is too perfect. Its crazy... like its so hard... but... I just cant even describe it with words. I don't think you can know what a mission is like until you've been on one yourself. I hope you all can serve one one day... as a couple... or as a young full time missionary. please think about it. Its the best decision you could EVER make. Im just so happy.
This week we had the wonderful opportunity as leaders to make the road trip up to Albuquerque for MLC (missionary leadership council). Basically its a 7 and a half hour meeting where we all discuss how to be leaders, see more success in the mission, etc. We all sit around this big board room meeting table with numbers, graphs, and everything haha. I feel like a business woman. Its crazy because we are all just kids but we all eagerly pay attention and participate the entire time. What made it even better was I got to drive up there with Hna Mitchell, Pipkin, and Gubeli :) :) It was a BLAST. We were laughing so so hard the entire time. Pretty sure I have a six pack by now. That's another thing about the mission... you develop deeper friendships here than anywhere else. Being at the mission home felt like home.... we got to have family prayer with president and sister miller and everything (because we come from down south we leave wed. and stay overnight.. its so fun). The meeting was incredible... sister Mitchell and I had to give a training on temples which was super scary but it turned out so good!!! We also had to give a training at zone training on what we learned... which was also scary... but awesome. Im finally getting used to public speaking. Can you believe it??
Went on a couple exchanges with the sisters.. they are wonderful! This email is really long so ill stop... but we just have seen so many miracles. Found a wonderful family named La familia Nassi last night. Its a father and 3 kids. They are incredible. Hopefully we can set a date with them soon. Pretty much just love the mission more than anything. aside from you :) I love teaching the gospel, testifying of my savior, and being an instrument in the hands of god. I am more in tune with the spirit now than ever before in my life. Thank you so much for letting me do this. I LOVE YOU ALL SOOO MUCH. and don't forget to have some fun for me!!!!!!!!!

Hermana Maxwell

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

BACK TO EL PASO! EMAIL 7/1/2014

TEA... SEE BELOW

NEW PLACE

A FORMER LOVED FRIEND..PICASSO!


HEYYY FAMILY!!!
so. You will nneeevver guess where I am. I FLIPPED when they read off the changes. In fact the whole room of missionaries were shocked since I know everyone now. I am back in El Paso with none other than HNA MITCHELL!! Crazy. Its so fun since we don't have to do the whole first couple days of awkwardness. We just hit the ground running! Im back in the same zone I started my mission in :) Serving in the Montana vista Del Norte area... so  not in Ysleta but pretty darn close! As STLs we do quite a few visits with the sisters so we got to go back to the old apartment and see Hna Sarganaga (the fam we lived with) and everything. It was so much fun. I absolutely LOVE being a leader. It is definitely stressful... but I love being able to serve others and make a difference. Never knew just how many problems missionaries have though.. its crazy. Got to see Hna Pipkin and Gubeli at transfers and get to spend a whole day with them on Thursday! Once a month all the leaders of the mission go and spend a day-long training (called MLC) up in Albuqerque with President Miller and then we have to come back and give the same training to the missionaries in our zone on Friday. So I get the 4hr long drive with all of my former companions aside from Hna Standiford :) I cant even wait. I am pretty nervous though because Hna Mitchell and I have to give a training on temples and family history in front of every leader in the mission. Scary!
El Paso is HOT. its been 106 degrees lately. every day. Somehow we survive haha. My body is definitely still getting accustomed to it. Its so fun being with hna Mitchell again though. We are constantly laughing and working hard. This is her last transfer too... so ill get a new comp for sure next transfer. I always wanted two with her so im pretty darn happy :) As soon as I got here we pretty much dropped all the investigators because they weren't progressing.. so we are starting from the bottom up. Its a little hard... but we can do it! We have set some really high goals. As soon as you do that Satan tries extra hard to bring you down.. but he is never going to win. Hopefully we will see at least one baptism this transfer.
Little miracles have been happening all week long. Its beautiful to see the hand of the Lord in his work. Our transfer focus for the sisters this transfer is to "be the first to love." We are focusing all of it on charity and how to develop it for our investigators, companions, other missionaries, members, etc. Its all based of D&C 12:8 which says that no one can assist in the work except he be full of love. I think that applies not only to missionary work but to life in general. We can't do anything successfully without love. Im so grateful for the love that you have shown me throughout my whole life. Thank you for being such examples to me. Couldn't be here if it wasn't for you!
LOVE YOU SO MUCH. the church is true!! I love being a missionary!!!!  





BORN TO BE A LEADER! EMAIL 6/23/2014

THE GARCIA FAMILY

THIS IS MY AREA

GLORIA

CUTE KIDS OF INVESTIGATOR

Add caption

THE ZOO!

KIDS FROM THE BRANCH

BRANCH PRES AND HIS KIDS

THE DIAZ FAMILY


FAMILIA!!!!!
So. this is going to blow y'alls mind.
Alrighty. well. Transfer news. Turns out im leaving!!! and... I have been called to serve as a Sister Training Leader. Thats kind of like a zone leader for the elders. Its the highest sister leadership position. Pretty much myself along with my companion are going to be over all the sisters in our zone.. we do trainings and exchanges every week. Needless to say Im feeling very nervous.. but excited at the same time! Actually all of my companions aside from hermana Standiford are stl's right now! Its fun because once a month we all go to albuquerque and get a leadership training from President Miller so I'll be able to see them all there!! I know Heavenly father will qualify me for this.. It definitely hasnt hit me yet.
I think leaving this area might actually be harder than my first area... Because the branch is so tiny I literally know every person personally. Sunday was really sad. Every single member came up to me afterwards, most of them crying. Of course on my last sunday no one was there to teach relief society (thats a common occurrence.. sometimes I feel like missionaries run the branch) they asked me to teach. I taught the whole lesson on the fly in spanish! Never thought I would be able to do that. I was already pretty emotional so the lesson was very spiritual and everyone in the room was crying afterwards including myself. I love this branch SO much. Presidente Jimenez came up to me and thanked me for everything and said I was one of the "great" missionaries that leaves the area better than I found it rather than just a normal missionary. Sister Gale was just bawling and told me I was her favorite missionary... she is going to write you a letter soon. I just.. man. Cant even express my feelings. Although I havent had any baptisms here, Im leaving the area with so much potential. 4 of our investigators should be baptized in July. Cant wait to hear from them. The call was very unexpected.. I thought I would be staying for another transfer but nope!
We had another huge miracle last night with our investigator Gloria. I never did tell you the miracle that happened with her but something crazy happened and basically she is dying to get in the baptismal font. Its really dear and special to me because I know I came to this area to meet this woman and to have what happened happen. If i wouldnt have been here she wouldnt be getting baptized. So anyways she has a crazy work schedule and her boss is very strict. She works every sunday. We have been praying and fasting to get her schedule to change. So we went over last night to say goodbye and she told us that yesterday her manager (without her even saying anything) asked her if she wants to switch to Mon-Fri. She is now going to start coming to church with her sons and will be baptized very soon :') What a blessing. Especially right before I leave. It makes me so unbelieveably happy. 
The zoo was a blast! There are just too many pictures to send.. but when I get them Ill send a couple. We got to see polar bears swimming underwater and everything. As you can imagine I was flipping out. Today we are pretty much just saying goodbyes. Hermana Standiford is really nervous to take over the area but I have every confidence in her. Im going to miss her and the people here so much. I feel like you guys have a connection with them now too. Its just beautiful.
This church is so true. I know it. More than ever before. There is nothing I want more than for the girls to serve one.. its beyond words. Im excited to be STL and to serve even more. Hopefully I can live up to be the missionary/leader Heavenly Father wants me to be. Because of the leadership calling there is only two places I can go.. Either to El Paso with Hna Mitchell again (which would be AWESOME) or Rio Rancho with Hna de la malena. "A donde me mandes ire!" (ill go where you want me to go). Love you all tons. 
Hermana Maxwell 
overview of the miracle real quick.
So this woman is named Gloria Andrade. Hna mitchell and I tried to go by her house once but I had never actually met her before hna standiford got here. I just felt like we needed to go by. We tried and tried but she doesnt get home from work till really late. One day while on exchanges hna standiford and hna rosa were able to talk to her. Turns out her sister had just passed away. She didnt have time for a lesson but they set an appointment. Hna standiford and I go and decided to teach her the plan of salvation instead of the restoration. The lesson was very spiritual and normal. Then afterwards she asked "what does your church believe about dreams?" She then proceeded to tell us about how for the past few months she has been having dreams about the devil. Like horrible dreams mom. She told us in detail and it was just this terrible spirit. She started crying and told us how much she wants peace and to be able to sleep. All of a sudden I got this prompting to 1. promise her the dreams would completely stop 2. she would have peace 3. that she would know that all that we are teaching her is true. I was so scared.. I have never promised someone something so specific. But as soon as I opened up my mouth the spirit entered the room with such a force ill never forget it. It felt almost like we surrounded by angels. Gloria started just crying uncontrollably. I felt like I was abinadi or something.. just filled with light. A week went by and we were just praying and praying that the promise would be fulfilled. We finally got over to her and she excitedly let us in. She told us that ever since the promise she has not had one single dream. She has peace. and that she knows the church is true and wants to be baptized. I was blooown away. We did a church tour with her and she started crying and said she knows she is meant to be here. It was beautiful... I cant even describe it. She also wants her kids to be baptized. They are all in their 20s but they live there too. Hopefully they will all be baptized in July. I know I was here to meet her. I dont think any missionary would have gone by again. Her name wasnt in the area book or anything. 


DESIRES AND ACTIONS! EMAIL 6/17/2014

OUR ZONE

ZONE FIELD DAY


FAMILIA!!!!!
Howdy from Neeew mexico!! This week has been absolutely insane but so awesome. We had our zone field day last week and our district showed up complete with matching clothes, headbands, and war paint haha. We felt pretty cool. We spent the day playing kickball, stickpull, and having a barbecue. Today the plan is to go to the zoo!! Im actually sitting next to hermana adams right now :) Crazy stuff. never thought that would happen. We also had our zone conference which was absolutely amazing. President Miller did an analogy with waterskiing!! How sometimes it takes courage to "get out of the boat." They are huge skiers. He invited me to go skiing up at hyrum dam with him when they get home. Just might take him up on that one.
Just like dallon I had to speak on fathers day! It was fun to be able to have an impact on the branch and be able to write a talk all in spanish! I only had to look up a few words. Never thought I'd be able to do that either. Our area has just exploded in the time I have been here. Its been so fun to see the success even if its not through baptisms. We set 7 baptismal dates this past week!! Its so cool to see how god rewards according to our DESIRES and ACTIONS. That was our goal this last transfer and we were able to accomplish it. So happy! Transfers are next week (pday will be on monday) and Im not sure how I feel about it. I could easily stay or go.. but we will see what happens!! Ill go where God needs me. Its been such a blessing to be here in this area... I have helped it to grow so much... obviously its God. but its cool to see our board go from maybe 2 or 3 investigators to filled with them. I know thats why I was here. I love the people sooo much. oh man. Missions are just the best.
Id like to issue a challenge to you from sister miller. She asked us to take the time to read our patriarchal blessings every sunday. I have been doing it and have been able to gain such a greater knowledge of the love Heavenly Father has for me and the things he has in store for me in my life. DO IT!!! it doesnt take much time. Its incredible.
I love you so so so  much. Keep being the best family ever. I appreciate all the support and prayers. we feel them out here!!! and happy fathers day dad!!!

p.s i totally got to talk to alice over the phone yesterday!! it made me so happy! the sisters also told me that josefina has a calling teaching the sunbeams and jesus is preparing to recieve the melquisedec priesthood :') 

hermana Maxwell