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, July 28, 2014

I will admit that I opened the package early

My truly beloved family that I love so much!
   I am so grateful for the beautiful birthday package. I will admit that I opened the package early. But it was good that I did and let me explain why... I waited two or three whole days without opening it and then on Saturday night after we finished planning and everything was done we had a lot of free time and I decided that it was close enough to my birthday so I went into our room and took out my package. I placed it on my desk and I  took out a pair of extra sharp scissors. I hesitated for a moment but then I couldn't wait any more so I sliced it open real nice.  Now I would say it was a good thing that I opened it on Saturday because Sunday was so busy I wouldn't have had enough time to open everything properly.​ I loved all of the gifts! The mug is so cool! I love the color changing. So swish. I love the two new ties. Both very good choices. I wore the paisley tie to church. First time I have worn a paisley tie on my mission! Everyone loved it so good choice Emma!​ All the decorations were perfect. I put them up all over our room immediately and the room looks awesome. My companion says it can only stay for a week. So I have to enjoy it while I can. Now after I had decorated properly I had a massive pile of gifts that were so nicely wrapped. Maybe a little bit squished and wrinkly but I am sure that they were super duper nice at some point Emma. I saved all the wrapped ones for Sunday morning and it was awesome because when I woke up on Sunday morning my room was super birthday decorated. I wouldn't have had time to decorate on Sunday morning. Overall it has been an awesome birthday.
  My companion did a really great job of telling everyone that it was my birthday. My birthday dinner was at the Haws family ​home and they did a wonderful job spoiling me. Had awesome decorations and gave me a gift! Some awesome homemade hot sauce!​ Their family is moving out to New York City and I told them to make one of their nights a stop at our house.

   I love sister Taylor, That was so nice of her! Tell her that her message made me very happy and I showed it off to my companion.
  Ian you look so good at your baptism! I love all of the photos. You are so right! it was a very good choice to get baptized. Those feelings will be with you for the rest of your life. I hope that you have some way to remember that. I am glad that I was able to share a little part in the baptism.
   This past week has been very intesesting. It was one of those weeks where you feel like all week long you tried really hard to do everything you can to help people and you get to saturday and it still feels like you haven't gotten anything done. Thats how we felt this week. We did a lot of contacting again. We did only a litle bit of service and we had a whole lot of meetings. We had Zone Conference this week with two other Zones and President Mella gave a very good message that I really loved. He was talking about the numbers that all the missions in California had been putting up for the last two years and he had done a lot of the math to find the statistics for what we needed to do to double, triple, or quadruple, the number of baptisms that we will get this year compared to last year. All of that part was just numbers and information and it wasn't very spiritual or very exciting but then he asked us a very good question. He asked us if the members are ready to welcome a new stake next year. Do they have enough buildings do they have enough tables, enough chairs...etc. I thought this was such a wonderful way but a different way to look at everything. Are we prepared to welcome 2000 new members into our areas? I did a lot of pondering and thinking about that. Very interesting. I love it!
    Today we got to go to Santa Cruz and it was amazing! What a great way to finish off the birthday celebrations! I sent photos to everyone in a different email!
 Me and Zollinger.... with the Locomotive!
Just me on the Wharf at Santa Cruz. Such a beautiful day!

 Freeman, Me, Zollinger, Le Beau....  Walking down a path in the Redwoods in Santa Cruz

Le Beau, Me.... Driving down the Hwy 17
    We got to go and help Elenore in her yard this week and she was so happy with all the work that we were able to get done. She was amazed with the before and after difference. She said we are welcome to come back any time. We weren't able to share anything with her yet but she knows we care about her and we are learning about each other so that is very good. Everything is going so well.
  I am so happy out here in California! It is so nice. I do miss all of you a ton and I want to go home and play and do fun things with all of you all the time but I am so happy that I get to sacrifice and serve the Lord! This work is amazing! I love you all! Be steadfast!

Love, Elder Maxwell...  The Only One

Monday, July 21, 2014

Training is great.

If I was to take a guess at how to describe this week in one word. I would say that it has been delectable! What a great week it has been. The only way this week could have been any better is if I had seen a kangaroo. Unfortunately I don't think that will be happening at any time on my mission. I can truly say that the weather here is desirable above all other weather. As I have spent the days in the beautiful sunshine my soul has been filled with exceedingly great joy; wherefore I began to be desirous that my family could partake in this warmth also. So it came to pass that I prayed unto The Lord and bade Him to bless my family with such great sunshine that would warm their souls as the sunshine warmeth my own soul. And it came to pass that The Lord did hear my plea  unto heaven and did comfort me in my youth. Basically what I'm trying to say is I hope your weather was as amazing as mine was this past week.

    Ian I am so excited to see your baptism pictures. You are growing up so fast! Your baptism is going to be one of the greatest days of your life. Remember the feelings that you have. That's what will be important to you as you get older! Something you could say from me at the baptism...
" Ian, I am so glad that you have made the choice to be baptized. Baptism is a wonderful ordinance of the gospel that helps us return to live with our Heavenly Father again. Your Heavenly Father loves you so much. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth and be an example for all of us. In the scriptures Jesus said, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Ian, I know that if we want to go back home to our Heavenly Father we have to follow the example of Jesus Christ. I love you and am so happy for you! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. "

    This week we set a goal to contact over 50 people a day. We set aside a lot of time to go contacting and try to meet people.  We had a few really cool experiences this past week with all the people that we met. The first one that I want to talk about is with a woman named Elenore. We were walking around the park and we saw a lady sitting on a bench off in the shade. We decided that we needed to go out of our way to talk to her. So we left the beaten path and started to forge our own trail across the freshly cut grass of the completely tame park. Once we arrived at the bench we started to talk to the lady. We tried to get to know her a little bit. She was reading a mystery book which is a fairly interesting choice for a read. After talking and getting to know Elenore we told her that we were missionaries for our church and we were looking for opportunities to serve people in our community. She gave us one of those, I am in compleat shock stares, and then replied. Are you saying you want to come help me in my yard? We were very happy that she had understood and we told her that we would love to help in her yard. She said that was wonderful because ever since she had become disabled she hadn't been able to do what she would have liked to do in her yard. We got her address and said that we would stop by to help out! She was thrilled and we all went on with our wonderful days. It is amazing to he how The Lord will bless us as we go out of our way to help others and as we go the extra mile to try and make someone else's day better than your own. There is a 94 year old man in our ward. His name is Eli and when I first got here he was my favorite. He always has the best jokes and he has such an incredible memory and drive for a 94 year old man. This past week he has been starting to confuse his past memories with the present. It makes me sad to see his memory start to slip. I have grown to love him and the rest of the ward so much that I can't imagine any of them not being here. I asked Eli what his greatest advice for anyone on earth was. He gave me a simple but powerful answer that has been my motto for the past week and I think it is such a wonderful piece of advice. His answer to me was... "Smile, and mean it!" I love that. Be happy and truly feel happy inside. It is amazing how that simple idea can have such a change on how we act. I invite all of you to apply this rule for a week. 24/7. All the time. Then see if you even want to stop after the week is over. It changed the whole way I treated and acted around people.
   Training is great. The best part has to be the members always asking the new guy to say the prayer! Haha, just kidding. I think the best part is showing my son how I love the ward and how I have made myself become part of the ward and I have seen how that has changed the way he thought it was going to be. It's so much fun for me to talk with people and see how they are doing. Remembering what is going on in their lives. The worst part is all the questions. I thought eventually there would be no more questions but I have come to understand that there will always be questions. I put some photos of us in the email. I hope you enjoy them. Hope you all have a great week and you all stay strong! Love you all!

Elder Maxwell

Monday, July 14, 2014


    My new companion is so solid. He is out here to serve and he is motivated and wants to work hard and is focused and is in love with the gospel. He is the best new missionary that I have ever trained! Haha, honestly he is really a great missionary. His name is Elder Freeman from Falls Church, Virginia. I was so surprised at how much we have in common as we got to know each other this week, or the past four days. He is one of 8 children same as me he is the fifth born though. He is 20 years old with blonde hair. About 5'9" so a little bit shorter than I am. I feel like there were a lot more things in common but I can't think of any more right now. Training is pretty easy. Really all that I have to do is everything that I would normally do but I have to explain anything that is new. I am enjoying it and I think that he enjoys being my companion. At least I hope he does. 

    I did get to meet the new mission president several times now. He is new and excited to be out here. He is very intelligent and confident in the decisions that he makes. He will do great things here in the San Jose Mission.
    We have been having a crazy week. After transfers on Tuesday I did not have a companion until Thursday so I got a temporary two day companion who is also in Fremont and also had no companion for two days. We were already really good friends so we had a lot of fun and got a lot of work done in both area for those two days. Then when Thursday came around we got to go in and get our new companions and then we had to search for bikes for our new companions and do a whole lot of paperwork and get a lot of things that they needed to gather from all around the mission office and after all of that was finished we were finally able to drive back to Fremont  and get to work. 
   I moved back into the old address as I said. The one off of Bay st. Yes, the windows are all fine. I don't know why you would assume that there would be anything wrong with the windows... That's crazy. It's getting fairly tiring, moving all of my things around Fremont all the time. The next time I move it better be out to the beach! Haha, wouldn't that be nice.
We had a couple of cool experiences this week. First we were doing some contacting at the metro station and we met this lady named Lisa. We started to talk to her and she got very confrontational very quickly. She didn't seem to happy that we wanted to talk to her. She got the idea in her head that if she started to ask us why we were on missions and how we had decided to be members of this church that she could scare us away with these kind of questions. We both answered and told her the true answer to these questions. We testified about how we came to know the church was true and what it means to us to be members of this church. She was caught off guard by our answer and started to ramble of all of these different random statements but eventually ran out of things to say and we started to ask her questions. Nothing about the gospel but just trying to get to know her. She was taken back that we weren't pushing her to learn about the church and started to open up to us in a very friendly conversation. After talking for about five minutes she started to talk about how she had moved from Nebraska to live with her man but that he had broken up with her earlier in the day. She started to cry and then turned and started to walk away so we called out to her and asked if there was anything that we could do for her and she paused was very quiet for a minute and then told us that It was going to be a super moon tonight and it would bring both her and us good luck. She then turned around again and in 30 seconds was on her bus and gone. I stood there with my companion thinking about what had just happened. It was so clear in my head that this completely defensive hard hearted woman had been touched by the spirit. She had not been touched by the spirit in the way that we would normally see but her heart was softened . Softened to the point that she felt comfortable enough to share a very  personal experience with two strangers that she had just met on the street. I know that The Lord was working through us. I know that I had nothing to do with how she was touched. I don't know if she will ever get baptized or even meet with missionaries. I have no way of ever getting in contact with her again and I will never know how she is doing but what is important is that we were ready and willing to help her in a time when The Lord knew that she would need support. It is  amazing to me knowing that The Lord is willing and able to use us in any way that he needs. I do not claim to be a great therapist or a psychologist but I do know that what happened that day in front of that bus was a miracle. It was Gods hand working right here on earth and I know that we were that tool in his hand. He is all knowing, He loves us and wants all of us to be happy, worthy, ready, willing, and eager to help the work move forward.

     I read a scripture this past week that has been my little motto all week. It has stayed in my memory and I always think about this scripture as I am out and about doing The Lords work. Doctrine and Covenants 6:34-36...
34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

     What a great message this is to all of us. DO GOOD! We have all be called to serve and help the work of The Lord. We can only do this if we have the spirit with us and the only way that can happen is if we are doing good. Satan will come and attack us all. He is real and he is trying his hardest to destroy us all. He will do everything he can to hold us back from making the right choices. Do not fall into his trap. Hold to Christ. He is the rock, He will help us all to endure the trials and challenges that we face. I think of the saying that we are in the world, not of the world. Imagine a little flock of sheep surrounded and mixed in with a hungry pack of wolves. The only way that he can survive is if we heed to the call of the good shepherd. Follow the example of Jesus Christ. Leave behind all of your past mistakes. Repent and come unto Christ. He is the way and the light. We do not need to carry our burdens. Let them be lifted off of your back and walk along side your savior and redeemer.  My favorite part, DOUBT NOT, FEAR NOT! Doubt and fear are from satan. Have hope, trust, and faith. I love all of you so much, family, friends, and people that read because they know someone I know. All of you are important to your Father in heaven.  Turn to Him for peace. I know this is the true gospel and I want you all to know that. Be strong.

Love, your friend,
Elder Maxwell

Monday, July 7, 2014

What a fabulous week!

     What a fabulous week! I am sure that I am bound to stay in Fremont for half of my mission! I got transferred into Fremont again! I have to move apartments again but I am staying in the Central Park ward. The only thing that is really changing is that I will no longer be in the deaf branch. It is very sad because I loved the six weeks that I got to serve there! I am going to miss the branch so much, the people there are so kind and thoughtful. They are always taking care of us missionaries! So now that I am back in Central Park only I will be needing a new companion.. I will be getting a new companion fresh from the MTC on Thursday. I am really excited that I get to train a new missionary because that means I will get to E-mail really quick again on Thursday and tell you about him! I am also excited because it is going to be so much fun having a new missionary as a companion! Only downside is that I have had stress headaches all week but I'm sure they will pass once he gets here. I hope that he is super cool and is just a lot of fun to be with. Christian or Austin, any advice on how to best train the new guy? 
    My address will change back to 4200 Bay st #209, Fremont CA, 94538
Which by the way reminds me of the wonderful package that you sent! Thank you so much. The package got here on Thursday just before the fourth of July. Perfect Timing. Unfortunately I had to go into the post office to get it and it closed early on Thursday and was closed all day Friday so I didn't get to have my celebration until Saturday night, but it is a good thing you sent all the glow sticks because we stayed up late making cool videos and taking cool pictures in the dark. We all had a lot of fun. Elder Domingo loved it because he can't hear anything so things that light up and look cool are perfect for him! We all had a really great night. I missed being with the family on the fourth because we didn't really have anything fun to do all day. Fireworks are 100% illegal in Fremont. They don't even put on a show so we didn't even get to see anything. The fourth of July is basically illegal here because all day I didn't see a single neighborhood picnic or parade or anything so it was very lame.
    Have a really cool story to share this week. We have a new investigator that we got last week and we were teaching him again this week. This is the perfect set up by the way. A member became his friend and invited him to hear the missionary lessons and then invited him to come and learn in his home so each lesson is taught with a member in the members home. Perfect. So, back to the story. We are teaching him the second time and he has some questions about the apostasy and the need for it and why the priesthood was supposedly lost from the earth and they were all really great questions but the member was taking it upon himself to try and answer all of the questions right there on the spot and prove to his friend that our church is true and his is not. Now I didn't want to be rude and tell him to stop talking but the things that he was saying were way beyond anything that his friend needed to know. He even brought up the organization of the catholic church. The friend isn't even catholic so after about ten to fifteen minutes of him going on and on. I could feel the spirit telling my to stop him but I had no idea what to say so I put my arm in front of him and this is what came out, "I don't want to offend you but I want to take this conversation way back to the beginning. Can we start with the basics?" I had been praying in my heart that the holy ghost would help me and would guide all of us and it did. After I said that the member replied with, "I am going to let Elder Maxwell talk now." He didn't say another word until I gestured for him to testify at the end. After that happened the friend had an opportunity to share his person experiences of how he has come to know his savior Jesus Christ. I was then able to tie all of his experiences into one thing that is common between all things that you believe in, Faith. We were able to open the Book of Mormon and read about how faith is not a perfect knowledge. Then I tied it back into the beginning of the lesson with all the deep conversation and I said that all of these things help us understand and they are all important but none of it is going to matter to any of us if we don't have our foundation built. It was an amazing lesson and was guided by the spirit. I know that the member and his friend and myself all learned a very important lesson about letting the spirit be the teacher and letting the spirit guide us in what we need to do.
Thank you for everything you do for me! I love you all!

Elder Maxwell