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, August 25, 2014

We only planted a seed...

Dear fellow family and friends,

     So as you all remember from last week I mentioned that I was getting transferred and becoming a zone leader. Well that was a week ago and now I am transferred and a zone leader. I am so glad that I am a zone leader because that ended up meaning that I get to serve in the coolest ward in my new zone! I am also very grateful that I get to serve and uplift other missionaries again. I love all my new friends here in..... The Menlo Park zone! I serve in the Stanford area! We are right on the Stanford campus and it is so amazing! I am serving in the Stanford singles ward and it is so crazy! The Central Park ward would on average have 75-100 wonderful people that I absolutely love every Sunday. The Stanford singles ward has over 200 wonderful people that are all between 20 and 30 years old. It is so crazy. After church yesterday I was honestly overwhelmed with how many sound members there are in this stake! It's so awesome! The Menlo park zone covers one of the richest zip codes in the United States and that means that you see a lot of really nice cars every single day. This area is very, very, very affluent. I feel like I don't stick out as much walking around in a shirt and tie because everyone is always dressed up in super swanky clothes. They are all so good looking, I love it!


My new address is:
2369 Wellesley Dr.
Palo Alto CA, 94306

     My new companion is Elder Reid. He is from Maryland. He is really cool. I served in the same zone as him before when I started my mission in Greenfield. I got to know him a little bit then and it was really exciting getting called to serve with him up here in Menlo Park. We are the Zone Leaders for a zone of 30 missionaries. Our zone covers all of the Menlo Park stake and it covers a big portion of the Polynesian congregations. We get along really well. He loves to play golf so we have a connection there in the sense that I was the one that would cut the grass for him before he would show up early in the morning. He seemed pretty grateful for that.

     Funny thing happened yesterday. We went to dinner at a home that has about five members that all live together and they had invited about ten more members to join all of us for dinner. They called it a group dinner. It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious. We were about to start eating when they said that we were all going to do introductions. So we all went around and said where we are from and our favorite tasty treat. The last person to introduce herself was Brittany Molina. From Beaverton Oregon. What a crazy coincidence! She just moved into this ward two months ago. She is working in accounting over here in the Menlo Park area. It really is a small world.

   We had some really cool things happen this past week. On my first day here we were walking around Stanford campus and I met a man named David. He is here teaching a course on how the internet works. He stopped and was willing to let us talk with him. We told him a little about the church and invited him to come to institute later that evening. He gave us a not so reassuring answer and said that if he got everything done before he would come on by. Later that night as we showed up to institute he was there waiting for us. We were very surprised and very happy to see him there. We took him on a tour of the building and ended up having a talk in one of the classrooms. We started out talking about the timeline of the world and when it was created. Then we went even deeper and talked about when the universe was created and there were some equations put up on the board and then we plugged in the Book of Mormon on the giant timeline and then we all sat back and looked at it. Then we asked him about faith and how we can develop a testimony. We had an awesome lesson about building faith as a foundation of our testimony. The spirit was definitely there and it taught us all that night. We invited David to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know the truth. He said he didn't know if he would pray but he would definitely be picking it up and reading it some more. It was such a great ending to a wonderful day here in Stanford.

     We had a lot of other cool experiences this week. One other one was with a young man yesterday. We were walking down university avenue and we saw him standing alone so we talked with him. The first words out of his mouth were don't waste your time. But we were a little more persistent this time and we continued to talk with him. After about five minutes of talking he agreed to let us share a scripture with him and he was completely open with us about his religious background. It amazes me still to see how the spirit can soften someone's heart so quickly. We only planted a seed last night but that seed will continue to grow and soften his heart over time.

     The time is flying by. Can you believe it's already almost September! That means the kids are going back into school again! Whoa! That's crazy! The year has flown by so fast. Just think, this time next year you all will be getting ready for me to come home. So weird to think that I have already been gone for almost a year!

    I love you all and I hope you all make it home safely or you have a great kickoff to the new school year!

Love, Elder Maxwell

Monday, August 18, 2014

The people are awesome!

     Transfers are in this week. I am sad to say that I will be leaving my son after six weeks. I don't get to do the entire 12 weeks with him. He is also sad so I guess that is a good sign for me. I have enjoyed having him as my companion so much. He is an amazing missionary, he will do well to carry on the work here in Fremont. Sadly this also means that my time in Fremont is coming to an end. After nine months of wonderful service here in three different areas I am sad to see it go. I keep telling myself that the change will make the time fly by even faster and I think it is going fast enough already. I also got called as a Zone Leader this time so wherever I go I will be leading the Zone. I am excited, it will be a lot of fun. I hope it is as much fun as when I was a district leader. I loved that so this has to be on at least an equal level of awesomeness! Like I said before the change will be making the time fly. I have no idea where I am getting transferred to or who my new companion  will be but I will keep you all informed as quickly as I can.
      Yes, my forced frugality was good but as soon as I got my card I accidentally spent money on new shoes. It was for a good reason. I needed shoes with no holes to do service. They are really cool if that helps at all! I am going to start right now and make a challenge for myself, never use my debit card in the rest of August and all of September. You can hold me accountable to that! I need a good challenge. I am glad that this is my weakness though because there could be much bigger challenges for me to overcome at this time.
     We had an awesome week besides the part where this cold you have been mentioning for the past two months somehow found its way all the way over here to me! I was fine until you said I hope it doesn't get you in your last email and then two days later I woke up with a nasty head cold. Good thing for me is that week a couple of very busy days planned so all day Thursday and Friday I just had to work through it. I took lots of decongestants and a lot of Tylenol. Made it all the way to Saturday morning when the stake president invited all the missionaries to come to his home for some pancake breakfast. Now as a missionary you have to understand that you never pass up free breakfast. So I took some medicine after I woke up and headed over to breakfast with my companion. Now the thing about decongestants is that they make me a little bit wired. So for those of you who know me. When I am not 100% in my head I say a lot of random things that come into my head. All of the people there were loving all of the funny things that I was saying and then later the stake president was talking with me, (we have a really good relationship because he lives in my ward) and he asked me if I was alright. I told him I was sick and taking medication and he commanded me to go home and sleep after the breakfast so I did and I ended up sleeping till one in the afternoon. After that I was much better and the head cold has pretty much completely gone away now. It really is weird how it clogs up the ears and makes it so you can't hear. I have never had that before. Just another adventure of being a missionary! Looking back at everything that happened this week overall it was an awesome week so I have no grudges against my sick day. 
    On Tuesday we were able to teach John again. We talked about the Plan of Salvation this time and it was such an amazing lesson. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to go and be there to help him grow and understand the gospel. He such a great guy. I am going to miss him so much. I am going to miss all of my good friends in Fremont. This ward is so amazing, the people are awesome! I am so glad that I had the chance to be blessed their wonderful spirit. I know that as I have served among them that I have learned so much from each and everyone of them. I have been so blessed to be able to make so many wonderful friends! I don't know if My next areas will be able to top this. It has been incredible.
Love, Elder Maxwell

Monday, August 11, 2014


My Family and Friends...

    It has been such an incredible week. I had my first confrontation with a dog on my mission this week. We were walking around on Saturday and while we were walking through a neighborhood we passed a big car and right as I got past it there was a big black dog and it was about two feet away from me. I started to back away from it and it continued to approach me. It was about to come at me I could tell so I was about to run and my companion told me to turn and walk away. For some reason the dog didn't care about him. So me and my companion are walking down the street. I have a big 120lb dog a foot behind me barking up a storm and I can't stop watching it and making sure it doesn't come at me. Somehow I was able to walk for a good 30 seconds with this dog right behind me. At any moment that dog could have chomped down on my leg. I will be honest for those 30 seconds I was absolutely terrified. Every single part of my body was telling me to run and get away from the dog but after my companion said to walk I couldn't run. I physically felt like I was being constrained. I wanted to run over and over and over again but I had to slowly walk it out. I am so blessed to not have a giant dog bite out of me right now. It was definitely the closest I have ever been to getting eaten by a dog. Not something I want to do again. Thank you God for blessing me with safety. That's the most adrenalin that I have been pumping this week.

     On a more spiritual side of things we had another wonderful lesson with our investigator John. He is so prepared and ready to receive the gospel. We taught him the restoration last week and this week we followed up with the Book of Mormon. We had invited him last week to read Alma 32 about faith and when we came this week he had but he was a little confused about where the Book of Mormon was happening and in what time so we had to clear that up a little bit but we had such a great lesson with him and he completely understands the gospel and how it is blessing him in his life. We wanted to give him the opportunity to pray and ask to know if the Book of Mormon is true so we asked him to read 2 Nephi 31-33 and to pray after he read those chapters. He said he would and I believe he will. I pray for him all the time and I know that he can get his answer as he prays sincerely. He is such a great guy and I love him so much. He has two giant mastiffs and they are way too friendly. Me and my companion have what we call the John pants. We wear them once a week and after our lesson every week they are covered in dirt and hair and drool and can't be worn again until they have been put through a heavy duty wash cycle. I think that is a very small price to pay to help someone receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We both look forward to our lesson each week and getting our John pants super dirty. It is amazing how things like that can bring me such joy now. I look forward each week to coming home with a filthy white shirt, pants, and tie on. I love it!

    Yesterday in sacrament meeting we had the most amazing spiritual sacrament meeting in the world. We had two really amazing speakers. The first one was Sister King who spoke about how service has blessed her throughout her time in the church she said that she found true joy in serving others. The best part was that you could see she really had found true joy as she was speaking. Her testimony filled me and I knew in that very second that what she was saying was true. I could see the same experiences coming to life in my own life. I love, love, love, love, love service!  After Sister King was her husband Brother King, President Richard King of Rotary International, he has been all around the world to do service for anyone and everyone. Such a great couple. Very inspiring and wonderful to listen to. He spoke and left a powerful influence on me. He spoke of the life of an eagle and how an eagle understands three aspects of the gospel very well. First the eagle understands vision. It can see very far into the distance and has a very clear sight of what is up ahead. We similarly need to be looking ahead in the direction that we are going. Setting eternal goals for us to be striving to achieve. Second the eagle understands change. When an eagle hits 40 years of age it goes through a rebirth. It cleans off all of the old, and gets a new beak, feathers, and talons. We also have to be born again. The savior said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." We all have to be baptized to make it back to our Heavenly Father.  Third the eagle understands commitment. When an eagle starts it's flight it sets it's end destination. The eagle will continue to fly until it reaches it's destination. I love this part because he said that the eagle will even continue to fly through the worst of storms to get where it wants to go. This compares to us as often we are asked by The Lord to fight through hard times. He asks us to stand for what we believe. He asks us to do this because he knows it is what will give us strength. I absolutely loved this talk and I am sorry for the lengthy email but I felt like that is what I needed to share this week. I hope and pray that someone will gain strength from this. That it will give someone the guidance that they are searching for.

    I know that God is by my side. He is protecting me, He is teaching with me, and He is giving me the strength that I need to continue forward every single day. I know that this gospel is true. I have a testimony of the Book of Mormon. I have read it and it will only invite us to improve ourselves. If you don't know this for yourself, READ IT. I know that Jesus Christ suffered for me and that because of him I have the chance everyday to try and be like Him. If you don't know that for yourself, PRAY ABOUT IT. I know that the power of the priesthood is real. I have seen it work in peoples lives as the have been blessed and promised blessings. I know that the spirit inspires us and guides us in every decision that we make. If you don't know this for yourself, LOOK FOR IT. I promise all of you that as you grow closer to your Heavenly Father through your diligence, He will bless you and help you overcome the challenges that you face everyday. I promise you this as a representative of Jesus Christ and in His name. I love you all with all my heart. My prayers are with you! I love my mission!

Elder Maxwell

Monday, August 4, 2014

So many amazing things have happened...

Sunshine Psalm​:)​ (explanation from mom:  I requested that he send us some sunshine for our Wednesday activity for the Young Women this week as the forecast was for rain. So he sent a sunshine psalm and the directions for making it work) 
  Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space— That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day. 
....​This is from D&C sections 88 and 50. From my understanding the light comes from Christ. The light lives within us and as we continue in Christ that light will grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day. So this time to get that perfect day you all must continue in Christ. Let your light shine! You can make even the darkest of places have light.
   I want to jump right in to writing about the week because so many amazing things have happened and I want to have time to give all of the details.
   First was last Tuesday, we had the first lesson or the Restoration with one of our investigators. It was a super awesome lesson and the spirit was definitely guiding what we were saying. After the lesson we asked him if he had any questions or if anything really stood out to him. He then recounted back to us the Joseph Smith story and he told us that it was amazing that a 14 year old boy got to see God and Jesus Christ. He said that Joseph must have been doing something right if God chose him to bring back his church. This is so true. Usually we have investigators who don't want to believe that someone could see God and Jesus Christ but this time it was perfect. I know that the spirit testified to him and told him that this message is true. At the end of the lesson we invited him to read Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon and he said that he would read it after we left. It is so wonderful to see someone accept the gospel so quickly and with so much enthusiasm. The Lord truly is preparing people. 
   We did some more service for Eleanor this week and as we were talking when we first went over there she said that ever since we came and helped her, her entire life style has changed. She said that she has been more confident and more anxious to get up and get things done. She loves having us come over and help her out. Next time we want to bring up the gospel with her and ask her about her religious beliefs and hopefully invite her to come to church next Sunday. She is so nice and so open to letting us be there to help her out. I really enjoy the opportunity we have to go and do service for a complete stranger. It has been such a cool experience. I love seeing the joy someone gets when things start to look how they wanted them to look. So cool!
   Then to finish up the amazing week we got to have a third lesson with one of our investigators and we had been meeting with him and his member friend at the members home but the member was out of town so we invited him to come to the church and have a lesson with us in the chapel. The spirit was so strong and the lesson was perfect. We were all sharing scriptures and they were all connected and the spirit was definitely guiding us all. I believe that the spirit in the chapel was confirming to him that it was true. I could see the joy on his face and his excitement as the spirit was with all of us during the lesson. He is so spiritual and had a very good sensitivity for the spirit. So many wonderful blessings that he has had in his life. The light of Christ really is in everyone!
  I have seen so many blessings in the work as we have been obedient and as we strive to do everything we can to improve each day.​ I hope that all of you can enjoy the beautiful weather that you will be having this week and I hope everyone stays safe on the Young Women's adventure day! Sounds slightly less exciting than a High Adventure!
Sounds like everyone is doing well! I miss you all and hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you!

Elder Maxwell