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, April 29, 2014

So that's the story of the $200 text!

I finally get some time to sit down and write home! What a week! That's all I can say!
I will get right to the part that everyone is waiting for... Why did I send mom a text in the middle of the week asking for $200? Well let's start at the very beginning...
We were doing service at the good old thrift shop, as we always do, and as I was working so hard a very kind old lady came in and asked us to help her get some donations out of her car, as lots of people do.  We kindly told her that we would love to help and proceeded out to her car. When we got to the car, all that she had to donate were four sets of old golf clubs. As missionaries do, I instantly jumped on the chance to talk about the connection that we instantly had because of the work I have done at golf courses.  After a very lovely conversation she decided that she wanted me to have one of the sets of old clubs.  I told her that I would have no use for them but she insisted, so I took them and put the set of clubs in the trunk of our car.  I planned on donating them to the store the next time we visited.  That night I was bored and I had happened to bring a ball and the putter into the apartment to help pass some of the time. You have seen how I would just putt around the house and that's what I was doing in the apartment.  But I remember a saying now, "When boys get together the smart factor goes down!" Or something like that.  I guess this never stops being true, its not something we can grow out of I guess.  Anyways, the other elders were so impressed with my putting skills that they kept challenging me to more and more crazy putts.  (Like bouncing it off walls and around corners and across the tops of tables and other stupid things like that.) Everything was going great and we were all having a lot of fun until I tried to putt a little bit to hard and the edge of the club caught the ball wrong and sent it flying into the front window... The fun instantly ended and everyone looked at me like, "What were you thinking, are you crazy?"  Cleaned up the glass that had fell and put some duct tape on the window for the night. Made some not so fun calls in the morning and found out I would be owing 200 dollars to repair the window. The words of my mother continue to ring loud and clear in my head, "No playing with balls in the house! Take it outside before you break something!" Another rule I guess you can't grow out of! Now that its all said and done, the window is repaired and everything is back to normal, it is actually pretty funny! But still bad. The new window is a lot better than the old one though. Still just a single pane window though, I thought that was weird coming from freezing cold New York. There is no such thing as insulation here in Cali!​ So that's the story of the $200 text!
Other things that happened this week... Well nothing else is quite as exciting as that but... We did get 4 new investigators this week and those two girls that we met at church last week are still super interested and have listened to the first two lessons now!  We have a lot more work to do this week than we had last week.  We wont have to struggle for how to fill the time this week!  That's a huge blessing and very exciting.  My companion and I did a three day challenge last week of 100% obedience to every single rule. That is a very, very difficult thing to do! Let me tell you, it is a struggle. There are so many rules and it would take me at least two years to get to a point where I could consistently be in the habit of keeping all of them.  But the blessings that we received from being obedient is so obvious!  Four new investigators in one week?!!!! That never happens!  Awesome!
I love you all and keep you all in my prayers. Stay strong and keep each other close. I know that you are all amazing and that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of you! He knows you, He knows your pains and struggles and trials. He will help you with anything. Just ask. I will help you with anything as well, as long as it is in my power. Take care!
Elder Maxwell

Monday, April 21, 2014

Let it change you!

Happy Easter right back! I hope your Easter was wonderful. I did get the package and I actually used the eggs to teach an Easter lesson at our Easter dinner. It went super well and saved me a lot of creative thinking a preparation! We have had a couple of really cool miracles this week. 
   First we were at church on Sunday (imagine that), and these two girls walk in and are asking to learn more about the church because they live down the street and want to know more about the church that is right next to their house. So we taught them a quick version of the first lesson and got there information and will meet up with them later in the week. Pretty cool how they just walked into church.
   Second we  help a lot of random people with service this week. We decided that whenever we saw someone that might need help we should  stop and help them so we did that all week and it was awesome. Random acts of service are the best! Lots of yard work and lots of sun time! It has been so nice out. 
  With the new transfer I got an all new district so its basically like starting all over again which is really annoying but easy at the same time. I love serving my fellow missionaries. They are awesome!
 I hope you all had a great week and  that all are doing well. Take care and I will have more to share next week!

Ps: Really short on time this week, Sorry! I love you all so much. The atonement will change you! Let it change you! It is wonderful.

Love, Elder Maxwell

Monday, April 14, 2014

The seeds have been planted

It has been quite the week. Transfer calls have come and for the first time absolutely nothing has changed. Kind of disappointing and definitely not as exciting as moving around or getting a new companion every six weeks. I love this ward though and my companion is a complete opposite of me but we have found a way to work out our differences and work together. He is definitely not the person I would choose to be friends with on my own, but I love him and I am excited for another six weeks of service with him.
We were doing service at a non-profit thrift shop this week, where all the proceeds go to breast cancer.  We just help them move furniture out onto the floor and pretty much do any grunt work that they need done. I have been serving here ever since December when I first got to Fremont and this past week while we were there the guy that we were helping wanted us to put a perfectly fine leather couch out back because it was a sectional and the other section to it was missing. I told him that he shouldn't throw it away because we could use it. He then told me that if I could get a truck to the shop in the next hour I could have it and another section that could fit with it. I got on the phone and had a member there in 20 min. He was quite impressed and asked me how I did it so fast and I had an opportunity to explain how wards work and how we are always willing to serve and help each other out. He was impressed again and gave us two matching sectional leather couches that I must say look very good in our apartment. I wish all missionary work was like that. He definitely loves missionaries at this point. The seeds have been planted for him.
I got to do three baptism interviews this week because I am a district leader and anyone in my district who is having a baptism has me do the interview. The first interview went really well. He was a young man, about 17 years old and he was so ready. He got baptized on Saturday at 3. The other two interviews were a husband and wife. The wife had been progressing super fast and was ready to be baptized about 2 months ago, the husband was a bit slower but he had committed to Saturday. I interview him first. Baptism interviews are supposed to be 15 min long. They are supposed to be spiritual and make them excited for their baptism. This man took 1.5 hours to interview. Our rules are that you have to go all the way through the interview questions no matter what. I asked him question by question and each time he asks me what does that mean? or What is that? AAAHAHAHAH!!!! It was the hardest hour and a half of my life. I had to teach him the entire first three lessons all on my own. He answered no to over half of the questions and the whole time I had a feeling that I needed to pass him. I didn't know why at the moment but I passed him. His wife came in right after him and her interview was in and out. She was another perfect interview. Both of them passed and they were both going to be baptized on Saturday morning.
After the interview I got a call from the stake president who was in a lot of the lessons while they were getting taught. He wasn't too happy with me on the phone. He was telling me that a baptism interview should never be that long and all I could do was say I'm sorry I did what I thought I should. So now its about 3:00 in the afternoon, I have the stake president mad at me. The sisters that taught them are mad at me. The zone leaders are trying to call me and find out what in the world I did, and on top of it all I passed someone who didn't even want to get baptized! But after everything settled down a little bit (we are talking 5:00 the next day) I got another call from the stake president, he apologizes and says that he was impressed with how well I handled the situation. The zone leaders call back and explain that they wouldn't even know what to do in that situation and they were impressed with how I handled it. The whole time I'm confused because last thing I knew, everyone was mad at me. Then the sisters call me and explain that the husband had chose not to get baptized Saturday because he didn't feel ready but his wife was still going to get baptized and he just needed a little more time.
Then the sisters where explaining how they were glad that I didn't fail him because then he was able to think about it and make the decision on his own. The wife wasn't mad because her husband had made the choice and everything was working out. What it all comes down to is that nobody lost any trust in anybody and everyone was happy at the end of the day. I am so glad that I have been called by God to do what us missionaries do, because without God's help there is no way that everything could have worked out how it did. I know that God's hand is in the work that we are doing and I know that He is watching out for me and helping me more than I could imagine. What a blessing it was to be able to be at the baptisms this weekend and feel the wonderful love and spirit of our Lord. I know that he truly does love each and every one of us.
Take care and help the missionaries like you are doing!
Love, Elder Maxwell

Monday, April 7, 2014

No pride, Just the truth!

I hope everyone enjoyed conference as much as I did. It sounds like you all had the usual Maxwell family conference! That's awesome. Its not the same sitting in the chapel for all of the sessions but it does help you focus more. Or maybe that was because I am a missionary... Either way conference was great.

It has been another wonderful week out here in sunny California where the sun never stops shinning! I understand that you have stopped looking at the weather for over here but I think its good for you to know that it will be in the 80's most of the week! Ahh, my tan is coming along quite nicely. By the end of the week I should be golden!

Anyways, on to the important things. I had the opportunity to go on exchanges this week with two members of my district. It was really a lot of fun because I am really good friends with one of them and I got to spend all day with him on Friday. It is a very relaxing process, being able to just slow down and enjoy the time that has been given to us, while doing the Lords work. I honestly enjoy being a missionary so much. I can't even explain to you how it has changed my life. Everything that I have gone through in my life has prepared me for right here, right now.

I have had so many memories come back to me this past week, both good and bad. I have struggled for a little bit trying to understand how I can remember what I learned from bad experiences without having to remember all the guilt, pain, and sadness that came from them. Then my answer came during conference. I believe it was Sunday morning when Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke about having an attitude of gratitude. It is exactly the answer that I needed. I realized that as I have let the Atonement change my life the memories stay with me but not with God. I realized that I could learn from them by being grateful to my Heavenly Father for letting me have these experiences. Through an attitude of gratitude I can let bad things have a positive influence on me and on those who I am able to share these experiences with. That is probably what has struck with me the most this week.

I have learned a lot about what the Lord is expecting from me. I also really liked the talk about the young man who gave a talk in church and then was seen in his "street" clothes right after church. I think there is a great lesson to learn from this. Stand as an example of Christ at all times in all places.

We also got to go to the Oakland Temple this week. It was amazing! Such a beautiful temple. The spirit is so strong there and it made me remember all the times that I worked in the temple in Palmyra! I also realized that I have never gone through the temple endowments in the same temple. Four times in for temples! Pretty cool!

No more time this week but I love you all! Keep being kind to each other and always remember that our family ROCKS!!! We are seriously the coolest! No pride, Just the truth!
Love, Elder Maxwell