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.

Monday, January 27, 2014

This has been the most incredible week on my mission.

      My new companion Elder Irvine is a champ. He has been out for 20 months and he thinks that I will be the missionary that kills him. I hope so, the more time we spend together the more I am going to learn and the more amazing work we are going to be able to do. He is from Riverton Utah. He is in the Chinese program so he speaks really good Chinese but he is very happy that he gets to serve in the English program to end his mission. He is trying to teach me how to count in Chinese but I have decided that it is way to difficult for me to learn unless I have been called by God to learn it.

     So many amazing experiences this week. We set three new baptism dates and got two new investigators. And we were always busy the entire week. It has been amazing. Starting off, we had a lesson with a less active member who really likes to bible bash. This was my second time meeting with him and the first time he was pretty friendly but he was still bashing a lot. So this time when we met with him he was very hostile. He came at us with everything he had and was trashing everything that the church believed in. It was like no matter what we said he was convinced that it was completely wrong. Elder Irvine taught me a very important lesson. He looked this member in the eyes and testified of what he knew was true, then the member looked at me and I testified of what I knew was true. Then we stood up and said that we had to leave. The guy then proceeded to yell at us and tell us to turn our backs and walk away like all the others. He continued to yell at us until we were on our bikes biking away. As soon as we got out of sight we pulled over and we said a prayer together. We asked Heavenly Father to bless us with the spirit and to help us feel peace. We also asked the Lord to help our friend and to soften his heart. Right after that prayer I was overcome with a feeling of peace and comfort. I truly felt the love that Heavenly Father had for us and for him. I knew that the Lord had protected us and kept us from harm. We had an amazing day after that.
     Another amazing experience was when we were able to teach the primary kids on Saturday morning. They were having a primary activity called "Future MTC" We got to help out with that by teaching all the kids a class on Preach My Gospel. It was really cool, we had all of the little kids read the missionary purpose with us and then we had them do role plays of inviting their friends to church activities like their own baptism. It was a lot of fun and I think the kids had a good time. It is a lot different teaching the little kids than it is teaching all of our other investigators but the message is still the same. God loves each and every one of us. He knows us and he cares about us.
    In church this week we had two of our investigators come to church. It was the first time that I ever had an investigator at church! Super cool. They had a really good time and felt very welcome. I think that they will come back and hopefully we can set a baptism date with them. They were only able to stay for sacrament meeting this week but after sacrament meeting we taught Gospel Principles. We had a really awesome lesson on the plan of salvation. After Gospel Princibles the Elders Quarm Pres. came up to me and asked me to teach the lesson in third hour so I taught a lesson on the atonement and how it can heal. It was a really good lesson and as I thought back to what I had taught I realized it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Over all it was an amazing week and I have learn so much from my new companion. I love Elder Irvine so much. I love all of you so much and I know that the gospel will bless our family. Hold to the rod! Keep up the amazing missionary work that you all do.

Love you lots!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, January 13, 2014

I am happy to say that I am still feeling very good.

Crazy week!

   For the first half of the week all of our appointments got cancelled because of the flu. 13 people have died in Fremont because of H1N1 or something like that. I don't know for sure. I heard word of mouth not straight from the news. Pretty crazy, So then on Friday my companion wasn't feeling so good and when we woke up Saturday he was feeling worse and halfway through a service project we had in the morning he started to throw up. He said he felt a lot better after that but once we got back to our apartment to change he fell asleep and didn't wake up till dinner time so we went to dinner and then he didn't eat any dinner and after dinner he went back to sleep. So not much got done on Saturday but I am happy to say that I am still feeling very good (knock on wood). The service project was removing a yucca tree from a less active members back yard. Its pretty cool. A fairly large amount of stuff came off the tree. We do a lot of cool service projects. Earlier in the week we moved a shed from one side of a yard to the other. Fun hard work. Removes a lot of the stress of missionary work.
    Had some pretty cool experiences this week. We got a referral from the sister missionaries and then later the same day we were contacting and met this pretty cool guy. We got to know him and asked him if he would want to meet up later and he said that would be cool, so he gave us his number and we parted ways. Later that night we were looking at the referral and it was the same guy that we contacted on the street! Crazy! Small world!
So today for a cool activity we went to a redwood forest (not THE redwood forest) in Santa Cruz and it was really cool. I was talking with one of the other missionaries in our district and his name is Elder LeBeau. We were just talking and somehow Oregon got brought up and he asked me where I was from in Oregon so I told him and he asked if that was anywhere close to Banks... I was like, YES!, How in the world do you know about Banks, Oregon!? And it turns out that his Aunt is Brad Makhams wife! He and Brad were pretty good friends when Brad would visit her family in Arizona! It was super crazy so we spent a while talking about Oregon and the Markham family. He said his is going to write to Brad because I guess Brad and him exchange emails sometimes. Super cool. Small world once again. 
   So this is the last week of the transfer and we are pretty sure that Elder Green-Bey is leaving and I am taking over the area! I don't know how ready I am for that but I am sure that it will all work out. If anything, the challenge will be good. I love reading about the crazy things that happen with you guys. It sounds like home is just as crazy without all of the older boys there. I did get your package today, thank you very much. I actually haven't had time to open it yet though.
   We have been having really nice weather this past week, short sleeves during the day, throw a sweater or a long sleeve on at night and its perfect. I have a less active member making me a sweet tail light for my bike, I'll have to show it when its done. Its going to be super awesome. Thats all that I can think of right now.
I love you all, Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you guys. I would love to hear from some of my amigos!
Stay safe! Love, 
Elder Maxwell

Monday, January 6, 2014

Some photos of our hike up mission peak today.

 The one at the top is me and Elder Green-Bey. The other one is me and Elder Domingo (the deaf elder I was talking about)  Oh and one of the sunsets for you!

Tell each other "I Love You" every day!

Wow, sounds like a crazy winter wonderland out there. Hope everyone is still having lots of fun! I just thought that I would let you know I was taking some really nice pictures of the sunset and the palm trees the other night. So many palm trees, its so crazy I can't handle it. Life is so hard here in California. Someday in the future the family will get back together and the home will be complete once more. Haha! I joke a lot.

So this week me and my companion had a bit of a rough start. We really started to clash with each other but on Wednesday night we ended up talking it through and we both said we would work harder at not being so abrasive. After that, we had a very good week from Thursday on. It taught me how important it is to have companion unity. Life is a lot easier when you get along. That should be helpful in the future ;)
We saw a lot of miracles this week. It has been really incredible.
Miracle number one, We had our dinner appointment get cancelled on Thursday so we had to feed ourselves but neither of us really felt like making anything so we decided to walk down the street and use the Subway gift cards that we got for Christmas. We went to Subway and had a really good dinner and then, when we went to throw away our garbage, a man was sitting alone at the table next to the trash can and he said, "Are you those Mormon missionaries?' We said yes and took a seat across from him. He told us this cool story about how the missionaries had been teaching him before but then they just stopped coming back (which usually means that there was a reason that the missionaries dropped him) but he said that he wanted us to start teaching him again. So we set up a time to go and teach him again later in the week. When we got home, we checked the teaching records and his record didn't say anything on it so we took that as a green light and we are going to start teaching him. Super cool that it all worked out like that though.
Second Miracle, we have been teaching this lady and she is slightly crazy but we have visited her three times now and she gets more sane each time, its kind of cool seeing her change. But anyway, the third time we are supposed to teach her we show up at her place but nobody answers the door so the appointment fell through. That was on Tuesday, on Thursday (after we had worked everything out) we went back in the morning and she was there and she said that she had been praying that we would come and she had a lot of questions for us, so that is pretty cool. We don't know if it will lead to baptism but its still a really cool experience. 
  Third miracle, We didn't have a lot of appointments set up on Friday, but we had one at noon so we went to that one and then right after that our day was open until dinner time so we needed something to do. We called a less active that I had met once before and he answered and said that he guessed it was alright if we came by, he wasn't too happy about it. So we went over, not knowing what to expect. When we get there we can tell that he is not in a very good mood. We sit down and start to talk with him and could never really find out what was wrong but I felt inspired to ask if there was anything that we could do for him. He said that he would really like a blessing! Excellent, blessings are wonderful for less actives, they work miracles. He asked me to give him the blessing even though he knew Elder Green-Bey a lot better than me. It still amazes me how I can be so inspired by the spirit in what to say during the blessings. It has been an incredible week.
 I love all of you and I am so glad that you are all so supportive of me and Austin and Christian as we serve missions, (Austin in past tense of course). I wouldn't want any other family in the entire world. You guys make me a very happy missionary. Have a great winter in the freezing cold and I will soak up as much sun as I can for you. (I really think I'm getting some tan lines, it's amazing!) Oh, and I am getting really good at sign language. There is one Elder who is completely deaf and I can have a conversation with him! Super cool!
Stay safe all and have fun and tell each other "I Love You" every day.

Elder Maxwell