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