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, February 23, 2015

The Pizza Miracle

   This week began with a miracle!  We wanted to order some pizzas one night because we didn't have a dinner and we had a coupon for Papa Johns for a buy one get one free. We called on the phone to order the pizzas and completely forgot to tell them that we had a coupon for the pizzas. This is after we ordered two extra large pizzas. We get to the store later to pick them up and we brought the coupon with us so we would only have to pay for one, because that's all that we had money for. The guy working there did everything he could to get the coupon to work in stores but it was only for online. It wouldn't have worked over the phone anyway. We told him that we only had money for one of them so we asked if we could just buy one. He said yes and after we paid he went and grabbed both and said, "I'll give you both of them this time. Keep up the good work." We talked with him a little as we thanked him for the free pizza and he said he would be open to hearing what we share sometime.

     He lives out of our area so we are going to have to introduce him to the other elders for that area. What a cool experience though! We got to talk with him about the gospel because he gave us a free pizza! You see everyone, missionary work is easy. All you have to do is get people to give you free extra large pizzas and then they will be open to hear what you have to say! Ha ha, he was a really cool guy and he gave us our coupon back as well so we can still get our other free pizza some other time. We had enough pizza for that nights dinner and lunch for the next two days! Saving money! Not really, I have spent way to much money with my new companion but I have realized that it is not such a good idea and I am going into saving mode. 
   Cool experience number two, we got to go to Facebook headquarters again this week. I have been there a couple of times before but I don't know if I ever wrote about it. This time we came straight from a meeting so we were dressed up in our suits. We actually took some pictures this time as well so we were looking pretty good. Facebook campus is really cool, it is designed by the Imagineers! The same people that designed Disney World and Land. It's like a little theme park without rides inside. I know that sounds a little anticlimactic but it is an office building so keep that in mind. They have fridges and micro-kitchens all over campus with free drinks and food all over the place. There are also restaurants all over the place that serve food morning to night everyday and they are all free so it's super cool. Very welcoming, family friendly, campus. All the employees that work there are kept very happy. We had dinner there with one of our members and he brought some of his co-workers with him and we had a really good conversation over some free food. Everyone was generally pretty happy. Even having missionaries there in suits dressed way better than anyone else on that campus. Jeans and a collared shirt is the standard for the employees. Casual Friday every day. 
We are working hard. We get along really well. My companions birthday is actually on the 27th. I am not sure what I should get him...
Have an AMAZING week! I love you all so much!
   Elder Maxwell

Monday, February 16, 2015

On a more spiritual side of feasting...

   The cold sounds brutal! I am not looking forward to the adjustment back.

   We are getting into the swing of things! The work here in the ward is starting to pick up again. All of the finding and building of potential over the holidays are becoming a reality. We have had several cool experiences over the past week. Thank you so much for the wonderful Valentine's Day package. I love it! The timing is actually quite remarkable. I had just ran out of Reses when the package showed up to replenish my supply. I also am going to have to start baking more I think. I have so many good looking treats that only take a little bit of effort on my part. I might be able to start to put on some weight. Probably not though. I can still eat pretty much whatever I want and not have to worry about it. 

   Speaking of eating, I spent way too much money on food this week. We went to a place on Wednesday for lunch called Fogo De Chao. It is an authentic Brazilian steakhouse. How this place works is you have a never ending salad bar that you stay far away from. The main reason you go is for the endless meat. Now I'm not talking about some McDonald's Big Mac patties. I am talking about Filet Mignon, top sirloin, etc...  They would bring out all these different meats on skewers and would come to your table and ask you if you would like some. I tried all their different meats (about 12) and then decided the filet Mignon was the best so I probably ate 25oz of that incredible meat. It was all so good. Very, very, pricey but coming out of it I would say it was well worth it. 

   On a more spiritual side of feasting... we had a really good lesson with Stephen this week. We taught him about the temple and as we were teaching I made a very cool connection that everything we do in the temple has eternal implications. We can do things for this life in a church building but the covenants and sealing of blessings that last into eternity can only be made within the walls of the temple. I am always amazed at how I can learn so much from teaching something that I know. The spirit truly is the teacher and there is nothing that I can do that even gets close in comparison to what the spirit can do. 
    I really do love serving here. It is such an incredible experience. I have grown so much! Thank you for all the continued love and support. I am glad I was able to track down Elder Forsgren for everyone. I hope he is enjoying his first area. Still haven't seen him in person but we will eventually. 
   Stay warm! Have fun! Bundle up in lots of layers! 

Love, Elder Maxwell 

Monday, February 9, 2015

I actually have a real, living, companion!

  It is a great week here in the California San Jose mission. I have had some really amazing blessings happen this week. 
     First of all, I actually have a real, living, companion now. He is a really cool guy from Vernal Utah. He took my place in Fremont when I left and finished training my son. He has been out for almost a year and is such a solid missionary. He is perfect for this area and has been working hard for the past week. We have seen so many wonderful things happen just in the time that he has been here. It has been such a huge blessing having him here so we can give full time and attention to the Stanford wards. He has a birthday coming up on the 21st of February and will be turning 20 years old. He has some of the slickest looking hair I have ever seen. I think I'm going to get him to donate it to locks of love :) Just kidding, his hair is salubrious. I would like to welcome my new companion Elder Ayotte to the area. I am happy to have him here! 
    Second, I found him! It was not easy but I did it! Elder Forsgren made it to California. How it works in the mission is all the new missionaries will arrive on Wednesday morning and will spend a day together. Then Thursday morning they meet their trainers and go to their new areas. My zone didn't have anyone training so we had no reason to be at the mission office for the trainee meeting. But we did need to drop some things off at the office later in the day so we tried to plan going to the office in time to see the new missionaries so I could say hello to Elder Forsgren. Unfortunately by the time we got to the office, everyone was gone. We had no idea where Elder Forsgren had gone.  We saw some of his paperwork on a desk, but other than that, there was no trace. We went back home defeated. That night I decided that I would find him before the end of the week. 
    On Friday night we got out the phone and we started to call the areas that we knew had trainees. One, two, three zones called and nobody knows where Elder Forsgren is. Four, and then five! I got a hold of Elder Forsgrens MTC companion! Strangely he had no idea where his previous companion had ended up. I guess he had other things on his mind, such as I am so terrified, I have no idea what is going on, who is this weird guy that I have as a companion, etc. (There are a lot of thoughts going through your head on your first day.) We had no idea where the three other trainees were, we had found five out of the eight. We started to call the other zone leaders to ask them who was training in their zone. Finally, calling the seventh zone we found the area that Elder Forsgren was in. I called him and we connected for a quick 5min phone call. How cool is it being able to have a friend come and join you in the mission. He has helped me realize how adjusted I have become to the weather here. We have had a cold rainy weekend and Elder Forsgren said over the phone how nice and warm it is here. Oh boy, the adjustment back home is going to be fun! Elder Forsgren has a great companion in a super awesome area. He is Elder Kerby's great grandson in mission genealogy. He is going to love serving in that area. Right in San Jose, he has San Jose State in his area and he will be working with the YSA and family ward in that area. Really really good area.
   One of the cool stories of the week begins at family home evening last Monday. At the end of FHE, while everyone was socializing, a member came up to me and said that he needed me to challenge him to do something. I said I would love to and before I could say anything else he said that he wanted me to challenge him to have someone for us to teach on Saturday. I was taken back a little by his request but I agreed and said I would call him later that night with a challenge and a time on Saturday. I call him that evening and tell him that we want him to have someone for us to teach on Saturday at 4:00 pm. He accepted. We go through the week checking in once or twice and he still didn't have anyone. Saturday morning we give him a call and he still didn't have anyone set. Now at this point we had two options. One, we could have thanked him for trying and told him it wasn't a big deal and he could try again another time. OR... We could have told him that there was still time and that he could call down power from heaven and God would help him achieve his goal. We did the latter and a miracle happened!  He got ahold of one of his fellow classmates who said he would be willing to meet up with us. We met with them at 4 and it was incredible. I learned from this experience that if we truly set our sights with what God would want us to be doing. If our will is inline with His, miracles will happen. He does provide. The guy we met with on Saturday may never meet with us again. All we did was plant a seed and we don't know when that will sprout and grow but it is planted. 
Elder Maxwell

Monday, February 2, 2015

Yes, I love serving in this ward!

  Transfer time is here once again! I will be staying in Stanford again! I get to be here for five transfers! Yes, I love serving in this ward, I love all of the people in this Ward and I love how incredibly easy it is to really get to know someone in this Ward. I am so very grateful that they will be sending me a new companion on Tuesday. I have been missing having a real solid companion. Not that a little space here and there wasn't good but I can truly say that missionary work is supposed to be done two by two. Not three by three or one by one. Two is just the perfect number for this work. It is inspired of God and I can promise you that!
    I see that the snow is making itself very comfortable! Oddly enough I am sort of wishing that I could be there to enjoy the snow with you all but then I remember the cold and the shoveling and all the other things that come with snow and I remember why I don't miss it.
    I am really excited for transfers tomorrow. 13 missionaries are leaving my zone. That means that half of the zone that will get changed out! WOW! that is crazy! A whole lot of new missionaries coming in at one time. Oddly, not a single missionary that is staying in the zone is getting called as a Trainer. So unfortunately Elder Forsgren will not be joining my zone. But that means next transfer when I get transferred I can go where he is and we can be together for three transfers rather than just one! I am excited to have him in the mission. It is going to be really cool getting to see him. A familiar face again!
   We had a super good week. We don't have a lot of investigators right now so a lot of our work is with recent converts and returning members. But I had the opportunity this week to take the mission presidents son on a mini mission in my area for a couple of days. He leaves for his mission in two weeks. He is going to Argentina so he was really grateful that he could come and do a "trial" mission before he headed out. We had a really good time and did a lot of really good work while he was here. I am always nervous for things like that because with missionary work sometimes you have days that just fall apart and everything seems to go wrong. I really don't want to have a day like that when I have a mini-missionary because that is an opportunity for them to see the joy and the fire that comes from changing lives and doing really good missionary work. So I am very grateful that everything worked out and we were able to have some really good missionary experiences.
    Last preparation day we had only elders in the zone because all the sisters went on a sister trip to Monterey. So we did what guys always do and we turned it into a competition. We made two different teams and we competed against each other all day long. The final real challenge was a game of gator ball against each other. (Gator ball is a combination of soccer and team handball) It was very extensive and the adrenalin levels were probably too high for a missionary activity but nobody got hurt so we are all good. I attached some pictures (oops, I think he forgot!)  of the teams and of just our team. It was a good day. Our team name was F.A.R.M. (Fully Attractive Real Men) We were what you would call professionals. We all made our own shirts too! And it all costed under $20! I was pretty impressed with myself.

     Have a great week! Stay warm! Don't let cabin fever set in! I love you all! 
Love, Elder Maxwell