On October 16th, Benjamin Maxwell, left his home and family for two years to serve a mission in San Jose, California.

As a missionary: He will teach of Jesus Christ and His gospel. He will have doors slammed in his face and be yelled at. He will meet people from all walks of life. He will stretch himself. He will learn about himself. He will learn of his Heavenly Father's love for him and for all His children. He will learn to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. He will serve the people of San Jose. And he will LOVE more than he though possible.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's really fun seeing our missionary efforts turn into joy in someones life.

Sorry I didn't write yesterday. The computers that we use were getting worked on but here I am writing today! Better late than never, right?

SO first off congratulations to Nate for receiving the Aronic priesthood. You are going to look so studly passing the sacrament. And happy birthday once more. Still haven't gotten you a card but Hopefully you will get one in about a year :)

  This has been a very interesting week. It was super cool seeing all of you on Christmas and you all look great. I am so proud to have you all as my family. I love you all so much and I am so thankful for all that you have helped me learn!
  So this week was a bit slow, with the holidays it is a lot harder to get appointments with people so it has been a lot of dropping by and that's not always very effective.
We did have some good experiences this week. First off I want to talk about a less active we have been working with. I met him my first day in the area and we have had a lesson with him either once or twice each week. The elders have been working with him for several months before I got here but just last week he came back to church for the first time since he was 12 and then he came again this Sunday! Its super cool seeing him progress in the gospel. He has so much that he can do. We are teaching him about patriarchal blessings today and then we are going to try and get him ordained in the priesthood! Its really fun seeing our missionary efforts turn into joy in someones life.
   Another day this week we only had one solid appointment until dinner so we spent the day going through the ward list and biking around visiting the less active members. We had a lot of rejection and not a single lesson. After dinner we went back to it and around 8 o'clock we were bummed out. We were biking around not really knowing where we were headed. I knew we couldn't bike around all night so I said a prayer that we would be blessed with a missionary opportunity. Not a minute after I finished my prayer, a car pulled over to the side of the road and called us over by saying "Hey Elders!" We went over to the car and started to talk with these people that we had never met before. It was two couples that were on their way home from dinner. The man driving explained to us that he was from Oakland and he was visiting an old friend. (The lady in the back and her husband) We then were talking with them for a while and found out that the lady was less active and lived in our ward. Her friends (the other couple) kept joking that she needed us to visit her and we ended up setting up an appointment with her for later this week. Prayer answered I would say, but the answer didn't stop there. After they drove away, a truck pulled into the driveway right next to where we were. It just so happened that the man driving the truck was one of our potential investigators. We were able to have a really great conversation with him and talked about his holidays. He was very happy to see us but we weren't able to set anything up with him but the seed was planted!
    Thats all that I have time to share this week but I will work hard and have lots of cool experiences for next week. I was able to meet some of the people in the ward that know the Bennions. Had dinner with an older lady last night and she had all her old friends over and they all started to talk about the Bennion family! It was really cool. Oh and one of my friends from the MTC is serving in the Saratoga ward right now and he knew that is the ward we used to live in so he was telling some of the older people about how I was serving in the mission right now and someone actually took the family newsletter and Christmas card and showed it to him so that was pretty cool.
Love you all so much and I can't wait to see you all grown up in two years. Its a great time of year! Keep each other close, we are living in the last days and we always need to be ready.

Thank you Family,
Elder Maxwell

Monday, December 16, 2013

Had some really cool experiences ...

  Yes, I did get the Christmas package. I got it and I was like mwahahaha!!! I get Christmas early so I opened the box and everything was nicely wrapped... so I was like dang I guess I will have to wait until Christmas. I was going to open the cereal and pop-tarts so I could have some breakfast because I have no food yet, we are going shopping right after this. I think ill tough it out and wait until Christmas day.

  Irvington! It is a great ward! I love all of the wonderful families that live here. Most of the dinners I had before Sunday were with older couples and they were all talking about how it is a fairly young ward right now. I get to church and over 50% of the congregation is over 50 years old, but I guess for them old timers it is still a young ward. They have a meal coordinator in the ward so she makes sure that we are always getting fed. The calendar for the month of December has a different family every single day. That is crazy! We get fed very well here, my companion Elder Green-Bey is a vegetarian so we get fed a lot of pastas and salads but I guess that is forcing me to eat healthy. I am also really loving all the biking. It makes the days go by super fast. We are going to the ward mission leaders house for Christmas.
   Its very different in Fremont where there honestly isn't even a ghetto and Greenfield where everywhere is a ghetto. Polar opposites I guess you could say. There are a lot of Chinese and Indian people here so contacting people on the street has actually gotten more difficult. But all of our teaching is in English now because any foreign languages get handed off to other missionaries.
    Had some really cool experiences here in Irvington so far. On Tuesday night I went on splits with Brother Clark (the same brother Clark that Sister Bennion knows) and we were able to go and visit a less active member. We talked about fasting and the power of the fast with him and he then told us that he had been praying a lot recently and that we were an answer to his prayers. He then asked me to give him a blessing, I was able to give him a blessing of comfort. This was the first time that I had ever actually given someone a blessing. It is truly amazing the power of the priesthood. I barely knew this man and I was able to give him a blessing that was so specific to his needs and was exactly what he needed to hear at the time. It really helped me understand more fully how the priesthood works and how my patriarchal blessing is so specific to me and my needs. It was a very spiritual experience for my first night here in Irvington. 
   Had another experience on Sunday. We bike to church early for PEC at eight in the morning and while we are locking up our bikes we see this old Chinese lady walking around the church. We start a conversation with her and through her broken English she tells us that she is walking. We already knew that but we asked her if she had ever seen missionaries before because she was walking in the church parking lot. She then answered us in broken English that she live right across the street. Great not the answer to the question we asked but great. So we asked her if she knew about the church and in broken English she replied, "Follow me, Follow me to house!" I looked at my companion and he looked at me and then we started to follow her. We got to her house and she had her daughter and her son in law living there. They spoke better English and told us that her mother really wanted to learn English and had taken up a lot of interest in the bible. We then asked the daughter if she would want us to send some elders who spoke Chinese to come and teach the family and she said that that would be very good. So we traded information and then we left and went back to church half an hour late to PEC. I learned from this that the Lord will work with what he has to help people receive the gospel when they are ready. Even through a grandmas broken English.
   We also had a Christmas devotional fireside concert thing last night. It was a lot of different people from the stake that all prepared musical numbers and we invited a lot of nonmembers and less actives to come and enjoy Christmas music together. We had one of our investigators that was able to make it with his family and they really enjoyed it and had a really great time. They made me sing with the rest of the zone and we didn't even get to practice before hand. So I ended up singing silent night and the first noel with the rest of the missionaries in the zone. It was a really cool event and one of those things where everyone just feels good being there. It was one of those nights where you really love being a missionary. Super cool opportunity to meet a lot of less actives and nonmembers in the stake.
   That is most of the stuff that happened this week besides some bible bashing and some street contacting that ended up with a two hour lesson in this guys home and then he invited us over to a BBQ for Christmas. I am loving it here in Irvington/Fremont! It is a super nice area and a lot of great people. Ill tell more next week. 

Love you all, 
Elder Maxwell

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I got transferred!

So, I got transferred! I am in Irvington Fremont, California now. My new Companion is Elder Green-Bay. I went from all the way south to the north border. Not all the way north though. Super excited to be out here.

Don't have a lot of time today but my emails will start to come on Mondays now. My new address is (4200 Bay St  #130, Fremont CA, 94538) I should be in this area for at least two transfers this time!

I used to be in a car in Greenfield but now it's all bikes. I don't know anything about the area yet because I just got here this morning so next weeks letter should be better. I love you all and I will write about everything next week. 

Love, Elder Maxwell

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What a week it has been!

     What a week it has been. I don't know where to start.

     Well, Thanksgiving was this week I think so I'll start with that. We woke up pretty early and went to play in the turkey bowl with the ward. There were enough guys there to have an okay game but they were all really into ultimate Frisbee so we played that for most of the time but its not as good as football. That's for sure. After sports in the morning we went to the church and played some basketball with just us elders. Some good two on two. Super fun and really good exercise. We got to go home and shower after that and then the dinners started.

     First, we went to the Tuckers home. We got there early enough that they didn't have all the dinner ready yet so we just ate pie instead and had eggnog. Super good that they didn't have dinner ready yet though. It would have been a long day if they did. We went straight from there to the ward mission leaders house. Super cool guy and his wife. This was the first Thanksgiving that they had put on as a married couple so it was a good time. Standard Thanksgiving meal - nothing out of the ordinary. We all sat around and got fat. Had some more pie and talked a lot. After several hours of eating and talking we went to our next dinner at the Garzas home, that's right a Hispanic household. That means a lot of food! They cooked two turkeys, one for us and one for them and they wanted us to eat it all while we were there!  We did our best but we ended up taking it home with us. We then played charades with the little kids and I am now the master of charades for that family because I had two lucky guesses. Then we went home and that was Thanksgiving for me. Pretty simple. Just a lot of eating.

    Cool experience of the week happened the next day. Myself and Elder Olenslager were going around to all the appointments that we had that evening and everyone was gone or cancelled on us and then our dinner canceled on us so it was a super down day at this point so we decide to pull over and try to figure out who we should go see. We both got a feeling that we needed to go visit a semi-active member family so we drive all the way to the other side of town to go to this home. When we get there, the house is super dark. No lights on, looks like everyone is either asleep or not home.  We were are like, "great, lets just try it anyways." So we go to the door, knock, and the son comes to the door. He is a priest and is super active, he lets us in and his dad is there but his mom (who is the less active one) is at work. We start talking to the father and he tells us that he was working early in the day and had hurt his back. He then asked us to give him a blessing. Then right at that moment his wife calls and says that she is on her way home from work and she was stopping to get dinner to bring home and they ended up getting 40 tacos from taco bell for us all to eat. Then after dinner we were able to give the father a blessing with the mother present and pray with her which are all huge steps for that family. We ended that day very well and we got fed. It was a huge blessing for us.
    We also took one of our investigators out with us this week. He wanted to come contacting with us and to some of our lessons. The only reason he isn't a member yet is because his father won't let him get baptized until he is 18, but he is a super active non member. We had some really great experiences with him and we helped him grow his testimony. It's super important that we are always trying to help our investigators and member grow their testimonies. I really do love the people that we work with down here in Greenfield.
    Transfers are this weekend and I am 95% sure that I will be getting transferred to a new area so don't send any mail until I get to email next week and I let you know where I am at. I am sad that I will most likely be leaving Greenfield but I know that I will be sent to wherever the Lord needs me next. I am here to do his work, not mine.
   That is pretty much my week, I'm sure there are some things that I missed but I got what was on my mind so that is good.

Love you all a bunch,
Elder Maxwell

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The spirit has no language.

Wow, a lot has gone on at home since I last wrote! Snowing... that's too bad for you guys, I'm not going to lie the mornings have been a little bit brisk (like 55) and then it warms up to a nice 70 degree day. Its not so bad out here :)
I have had a lot of cool experiences starting with Spanish. We were at a less active Spanish members home and we were teaching her and her kids a lesson about the Book of Mormon. During the lesson' me and my companion have worked it out so I will share a portion of the lesson in English and he will translate for me. Its rough but at least it gets me a little bit involved. I have been working really hard on getting my testimony down in Spanish and at the end of the lesson I really felt like I needed to share it so I stumbled through it. (It was very "not fluent" and I forgot some words but I got through it) As I was bearing my testimony though, I could feel the spirit filling the room. I learned a very valuable lesson that night. One, the spirit has no language. It will reach people perfectly no matter how good or how bad you speak. Whenever you are testifying you will be touching them more than anything else can. I remember someone saying something like "the spirit is bilingual", but really its super-lingual. Another thing I learned is that I have a lot of work to do on my Spanish...

Second cool thing of the week was a service project that we went to on Monday instead of our p-day. We drove up to Monterrey and helped the Baptist church put together 1009 thanksgiving baskets to give out to the community today. It was super cool serving right along side all these other people. At the end I had a really cool talk about seeing the gospel change peoples lives with this very Baptist lady. She was super nice and really liked what I said to her. She worked in a prison teaching the inmates for several years so she knew what she was talking about. It was a really cool service project and LDS church news was there taking pictures and interviews on the whole thing. So look for me on LDS.org I was wearing a blue and gray hoodie that I got while I was here. That would be super cool if they had a picture of me up there. I didn't get interviewed though. Super cool experience. 

Video link:  http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/mormons-monterey-interfaith-thanksgiving?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LDSNewsRoomTop15+%28RSS%3A+LDS+Newsroom%29  (you can see Elder Maxwell at :30 and 1:50 in the video, I couldn't find him in any of the photos)

We drove all the way down to Bradly this week also, it is the very last town in the mission. The very bottom. It was super small and the referral that we were trying to visit wasn't even home so we will have to drive down some other time. It was a really cool drive though. About 45min south of Greenfield and it was all covered in vineyards. I'm serious, just vineyards as far as you can see. We also stopped in one other really small town just to see what it was but there was nothing. The windows on the public library were all boarded up and everyone was living in shacks. It was super sketchy, I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if I saw a dead person, that's how sketchy it was. But it was a fun time seeing the rest of our area. That was the first time anyone had been south of King City.

Last cool story for the week happened this morning. We went to a Spanish members home after working out this morning, which by the way I'm getting super strong. No Joke. But anyways we go over there for breakfast/lunch. They served us Menudo,
Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made with beef stomach (tripe) in broth with a red chili pepper base.
it is literally cow intestines in cow intestine broth. Super chewy, like chewing on fat and it had little spikes on the inside of the intestines so it had a really strange texture. I ate the whole bowl and broke Hispanic manners and declined the second bowl but I sure am glad I did. Its one of those things that you eat to say that you ate it I guess. Supposedly its really good for curing hangovers though. Not something I would really want to try again and I wouldn't recommend any of you trying it. Probably wouldn't go over well with the chillins.

That is pretty much the best of my week so hopefully next week can top that!
Love you all and I'll hear and write more next week.

Love, Elder Maxwell

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I learned what it really means to love the people.

Where to start? Oh that's easy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JONATHAN!!!!! AND DAD!

This week has been a missionary week for sure! We started off getting a lot of rejection on Thursday. We went to about 15 houses and only had three people let us in. That was dinner and two members... But then the next day we had some more rejection for the first half of the day but ended up getting in to some non-member homes and having some really great lessons. (That's what my companion told me, they were all in Spanish)

We also contacted this group of religious people who were on speakerphones on the corner of the street and I met this guy who grew up LDS but joined the other church instead of going on a mission. We had a really good conversation and I could tell that I gave him some things to think about but he didn't want to meet with us so it will be one of those seeds that I planted.

We got a referral for this really nice English family and we haven't been able to get in and talk with them yet but I feel like that's the family that I am here in Greenfield for so, even thought they aren't even our investigators yet, we have been praying for them every night.

Lets see, we went to this birthday party for a member who is turning 24 and she is Hispanic so they fed us pig foot soup. It has some Hispanic name and is only for really special occasions. There was a legit pig foot in my bowl! Skin and all... So I ate all the soup and meat that was around it and then ate the skin and meat off of it like they showed me. It didn't taste bad but I think I still prefer eating my meat when its not attached to the animal. It was a good experience though. Then we went to dinner after the birthday dinner and had some amazing ham. Like I said, the meat is better off of the animal.

During our p-day yesterday we baked a cake and frosted it for this girl because her birthday isn't until today just like Jono. She has two little kids and they are super fun. Her son is four and is convinced that he is Iron Man and her daughter is 3 and everyone calls her princess so that's what she thinks her name is. I learned this past week what it really means to love the people. I can honestly say that I love the people here in Greenfield and the surrounding two hour radius of towns and cities that we cover :)

The work is going super well Me and Elder Olenslager are still doing a lot of finding but hopefully it starts to turn into a lot more teaching. It is way nice hearing about everyone at home every week!

Love you all and pray for everyone every night!
Elder Maxwell

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I have seen lots of miracles in the work.

What a week it has been, I think that the emailing here in Greenfield is going to be a little bit precarious. We had Zone Conference yesterday so we didn't have time to email. That's why my letter is a second day late.
This week has gone by really fast. We taught a total of 24 lessons this week and we contacted 138 people on the street. We got two new investigators from those contacts and we also got a less active family to come to church! Its super awesome.
I have seen lots of miracles in the work down here. Yesterday our mission President told us that in 2010 all of the missions in California started to drop because of prop 8 or something about gay marriage being legalized. He then told us that the San Jose mission is the only mission that has been coming back from that. Over the past six months this mission has seen more than double the amount of baptisms and everything else! Its super cool seeing how the work is growing so much in this area.
Elder Olenslager and I have been working on getting a lot more investigators. We are trying to get a baptism before the end of the year. We have four baptism dates right now but we don't know how many of them will hold through. We hope they all will.
We have taught the first lesson to both of our new investigators but they are both Spanish so I didn't really say anything which kind of bummed me out. But then we went and talked to a less active family and they all spoke English!!!! So I got to feel like a real missionary! Me and Elder Olenslager are really good at teaching together. We helped the family out a lot and I left that home feeling like I had done my part in a lesson. It was a good feeling.
During my personal study this week, I have been doing a lot of studying about Faith, Hope, and Charity. It has been really cool. In Ether 12:6 it says that with faith we can do anything. That is true but in order to have enough faith to do anything we have to have hope and charity also. It says this in Ether 12:28, Alma 7:24, and D&C 4:5. There are a lot more scriptures that I can't remember off the top of my head but it has been really cool seeing faith hope and charity pop up everywhere in the scriptures as I study. I finished the Book of Mormon this week! I started it in the MTC so it has been really fast but that happens when you study for hours each day. Its very enlightening.
This week I couldn't hold out any longer so I went and bought some chocolate milk... Ha-ha, that's the only thing I have bought all week! I sent home my SD card. It has the address of my apartment on it. Everyone can mail things directly to the apartment but when transfers get close I wouldn't send anything there because it would probably get taken by the other elders if I left. Transfers are every six weeks here also.
I'm super glad I got to write to you all today! Hope all is well at home. Everyone tell mom and dad that I love them for me. You guys are the best family anyone could ever ask for! Love you all!
Love, Elder Maxwell

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I don't know what is being said ...

I am in the Greenfield Area of the San Jose mission. It is the farthest south area in the mission so I am about a two hour drive from the mission office. Its super chill down here and everyone is really cool. This is a Spanish area so, in most of the lessons, I don't know what is being said but my companion speaks Spanish very well so he will translate for me if anyone asks me a question. He does most of the teaching though.
 My companions name is Elder Olenslager. He is from Utah and is a really cool guy. He has been out for about ten months and I am his first trainee so we are both learning. We have two other elders that live with us in our area. Elder Johnson (he is new and came out with me) and Elder Aranda. Elder Aranda is a native Spanish speaker so he is really the pro out of us all. He has six months left in the field.
I am loving this area! The people are all very nice. We do have a lot of Spanish investigators but the members are still mostly English so dinners are about 50/50. The Spanish members are a lot more loving. I have eaten lunch and dinner at a members house pretty much every day so far. On Saturday we were at a Spanish members house for dinner and were eating a bean soup with cactus and peppers in it. It was very good and I ate everything. Then they got me another big bowl of it and I got about halfway through that and I was stuffed so I left it there and tried to pick up on some of the Spanish that was being spoken. The mother saw that I wasn't eating anymore and turned to Elder Aranda and asked him if I didn't like the food so he turns to me and translates and says she wants to know if you don't like her cooking. I started to respond, "No, it is very good, I am just full." But I got cut off after the word no, the mother clearly understands no, so she starts to go off in Spanish about how I don't like her cooking. Then everyone is laughing at me as I am trying to explain that I did like it and finally the mother goes to the freezer and brings back some Ice cream and says to me that I get Ice Cream because I was honest with her and told her I didn't like her cooking. So I just let it go because she didn't seem too upset. Then the rest of the night she was worried because I was going to be hungry in the morning and it was fast Sunday in the morning so she is asking me if I want a sandwich or something and I'm like no thank you I am full. But anyways it was a long night of not understanding anything.
Then Sunday night we had three different families feed us dinner and another family that wanted us to come over for dessert so I think we ended up with a late lunch, an early dinner, a normal dinner and dessert and then a dessert. I was so full by the end of the night.
I love the members down here and we do a ton of work with the less active members. Its all about working with the ward down here, it is great! We have a super awesome ward mission leader, his name is Josh and his wife Sarah. They are both super helpful and will do anything for us.  There is a lot of great work going on down here and it is super exciting! I am loving it.
It got down to 60 last night and I felt cold... That's really bad. But its so beautiful here! I did get the bedding and the greenie package. It was super awesome! I love all the food! I can't seem to get away from food here.
I didn't get to write until today because the libraries are closed on Mondays in this county but my p-day is on Monday. So when I get transferred it will go to emails on Monday. I think that is everything if I think of anything else it will have to wait till next week!
I love you all and pray for everyone everynight!
Love ya lots, Elder Maxwell

Monday, November 4, 2013

Updates and photos from Sister Tucker in Greenfield, CA!

This is Sister Tucker from the Greenfield Ward where your new missionary just arrived, in the San Jose Mission!  We had the missionaries over for dinner tonight, and I took some pictures to send you!
They just arrived yesterday.  There are 4 elders here.  The Spanish elders were the only pair here, and now they've been split and become trainers to the two new elders, Elder Maxwell and Elder Johnson.  The Greenfield Ward encompasses a huge area, so it's good that there are 4 elders here.  They do a lot of traveling!  It's a very good ward, and I think your son will be happy while he's here.
Their trainers are good missionaries.  We enjoy them.  There's lots of work here for them to do!
Elder Maxwell's companion is Elder Olenslager.  We call him Elder O (or Elder Ogre Slayer . . . Haha!)  He's a good guy.
Enjoy the pictures!
~ Shelley
So good to hear back from you!!  Yes, I know how much it means for moms to get pictures of their missionaries!!  Yes, I asked all the questions and Elder Maxwell told me all about his family.  It sounds like he has a great family!  He bore his testimony today in Sacrament Meeting, and he was funny!  I don't know if you've gotten a letter from him yet or not, but as you know, he is English speaking, but he got put in a Spanish area!  Haha!  So in his testimony he was saying, "I don't really know why I'm here, since 99% of the people are Spanish speaking, but there must be that one person out there who I am meant for!"  All the missionaries we joking about how they've been in these teaching appointments and they've all been Spanish.  Although Friday night I think they were going to teach someone who spoke English.  Haha!  So maybe he'll learn Spanish after all!!
Yes, my oldest son served a mission in India.  My second son served in New Zealand.  My third son is on his mission on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona.  And my fourth son JUST left this past week for his mission in Botswana/Namibia Africa.  He flew to the South Africa MTC and just arrived on Wednesday.  So, like your sons, they will overlap 8 months also.  My second and third sons overlapped 8 months, too.  Then I have one daughter and another son who are both planning on going on missions.  So we missionary moms need to stick together!
And my daughter's name is Emma, too!  She's 14.  Elder Maxwell told us about his sisters!
You should be getting a letter from your missionary soon!  I think P-Day is tomorrow!
Talk to you later!
~ Shelley Tucker

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

San Jose is so, so, so, nice!

Well that's another week down. I am in California and San Jose is so, so, so, nice!

I'll start with the last week in the MTC, I had a lot more class and half of my district left for Roseville California on Tuesday morning. The four of us left, headed out this morning. We had an awesome devotional last night. Elder Godoy of the seventy came and told us all his conversion story. It really stuck out to me about how there is a spiritual half to conversion and a social half to conversion. Both of them are equally important. It was a really great talk. I wish everyone could have heard it.

So now onto the events of today so far, we got off the airplane this morning and were met by the AP's (assistant to the president). They took us down to the baggage claim where I got my one bag and it had a corner torn off and I'm not sure what fell out but I will find out. Then we went to downtown San Jose and did some street contacting. That was super cool. I gave out a lot of pass-along cards and my first Book of Mormon. This guy asked me if I had any reading material and I testified of the Book of Mormon and then gave it to him. It was a super cool experience.

I don't have a lot of time today because it isn't p-day but I am glad I could share a little. I got to go! Love you all and am super glad to be serving. Ill probably write again on Monday.

Love, Elder Maxwell

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The MTC is amazing!

 I totally made it to P-Day. The MTC is amazing! I have had such a great experience here. I seriously have had my testimony grow 500 times the size it was in the past week. It is incredible.

My companion is Elder Pehrson, he is a really good companion and helps keep me in line. I have the best district in the entire MTC for sure. In my room we have me and my companion and then we have Elder Featherstone and Elder Staker (our district leader), the other half of our district is right next to us. Our zone leaders are in our district and they are Elder Avery and Elder Zaugg. They are the best. Super fun group of guys. We also have Elder Chapman and Elder Hanson in that room. That makes up the entire district. My room is all going to San Jose and the other room is going to Roseville. Super fun group of guys.

It was awesome walking into the MTC and the first thing they do is put that name tag on you. It has an orange dot on the front so everyone is welcoming you to the MTC because you have a noob dot on. It was fun but today there is a new group of missionaries coming in today and it is going to be cool to see them all and see how far we have all come in the past week. I can't wait to get out to California though. It is way too cold here!

Okay, so I wasn't nervous when Austin and Maddi dropped me off, but I was nervous when they picked me up. Did you know that they have random seatbelt parts laying around on the floor of their truck! It is not safe back there. I could have died! You better talk to them about taking good care of their children.

I am at the main MTC campus and it is really cool. Lots of good missionaries running around causing all sorts of tomfoolery! My typical day consists of about 6 hours of class and 4 hours of study time. Then there are meals... the food isn't as bad as everyone makes it sound. And, I'm really upset because everyone is like the MTC is all about singing "Called to Serve"... I've only sang it twice so far. "Praise to the Man" like four times.

We started teaching our first investigator on the second day and we have him committed to being baptized. We have taught him the first three lessons and it is going super well. Me and my companion are rocking it! We got our second investigator on Monday and he is a bit more tricky that the first guy but we are teaching him again tonight and it is going to go super well.

The best part about the MTC has got to be my district though. They are great! They make the days go by and all the stress go away. The MTC has been a breeze! We have had two awesome devotionals so far. On Sunday night and then last night. We had Elder Robbins of the Seventy last night and he talked about opening our hearts, then eyes, then our mouths. It was really a good devotional. Don't have time to go into too much detail but it was great. If you guys need a good talk to hear I recommend trying to listen to "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. It is super good.

I miss you all and hope everyone is doing awesome! I pray for everyone every night!
Well that's all I have for today! The next time I email I will be in San Jose! I look forward to hearing from everyone!

Love, Elder Maxwell :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

First Day - First Letter Home!

Well, here I am at the MTC all set for the night at the end of a crazy first day. 

It has been a wonderful experience so far.  The flights all went well.  WI got to Atlanta, I met four elders that were on their way home from Brazil.  They were really cool and we had an awesome conversation.  Once I got to Salt Lake, Austin and Madison found me pretty quickly and we got my bag and they crammed me into the back of their truck.  (which has tons of seat belts that don't work)  They took me to Panda, which was delicious, and then on to the MTC (a couple of hours late). 

I snuck in with my first ever, temporary companion, Elder Reed.  He is from Arizona and will be serving in Texas.  We were companions through the MTC presidency welcome and then dinner.   After dinner, we went our ways, thus ending my very first companionship.  I went to my residence, where I met my real companion.  He is a good guy but he is a little bit strange.  He should be all right for 12 days. 

We went to a teaching exercise where a big group of us elders and sisters all taught an investigator at once.  We did this three times and it was really cool how everyone fell in love with the investigators each time.  After the teaching experience I got to meet my district and my zone.  There are four of us elders going to San Jose and the other four elders in our district are going to a different English speaking California mission.  There are about 16 elders and sisters in our zone.  It is a really great group of people. 

And that pretty much sums up the rest of Day 1.  I have lights out in 30 min. and I am ready for bed.  I love you guys and I will try to write letters about once a month but don't hold me to that.

Elder Maxwell