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 31, 2015

Don't delay or doubt!

Abraham Lincoln once said, "Pray like it is up to God, and work like it is up to you."
This week has been awesome!!! First things first, just to make a clarification, I have not been Elder Wolfes companion before but I was his zone leader at the beginning of his mission. He is 14 months out now and I am very glad that he is my companion! We are having so much fun together! We work super hard but at the same time he lets us have a ton of fun! And the members are loving it!!! 
First example is a ward BBQ that we had this past Saturday. It was a BBQ to kick off the beginning of the school year and the end of summer. And let me just put this out there, the Los Gatos Ward can put on a mean BBQ! It was awesome! From a bounce house to ribs! This BBQ had it all! And because my companion is down with having fun while working hard we were able to be super friendly and just be there and have a good time with all of the people that came. We probably had close to 200 people there and only 15 non members and a good number of less active members. The ward council was talking about how to get the percentage of non members higher for future events because the non members that were there absolutely loved it! Everyone had such a great time!!!! We talked to every single person that was there and it was a great way for my new companion to get to know the ward quickly and start to build that relationship of trust for himself. It was such a good night! There was also someone in the ward called as the event photographer. Her job was to blend in with everyone and just be part of the fun but she also had a super nice camera and took lots of pictures throughout the BBQ. The best pictures are always the ones you don't know are being taken!!! There are some good shots of us missionaries. One of us looking like we are teaching someone but really we are talking with the stake president. Hahaha, another of a group of four of us right after the whole thing got cleaned up. And finally, my favorites, the ones of me and the mob of little girls in the ward playing "duck duck goose." They all loved it and I got so many compliments from parents the next day at church about how all their daughters were talking about how cool it will be to be a missionary. The parents loved it just as much as the kids! It was a great BBQ and we had a really really great time. As a missionary you really come to appreciate ward parties especially when the members realize they are the coolest events to invite people to. I don't know any of my friends that don't want free ribs. I love how members are willing to just reach out to people they don't know and become their friend. We don't have to wait for parties or BBQs to reach out to people though! It could be anyone that God wants us to reach out to. We just have to be willing to open our mouths! 

Another cool part of the week was being able to go over to a members home and help them with their yard work. While we were there the neighbor came out and was talking with us so we offered to rake her yard as well. She had recently got a plate put in her wrist so yard work had become a difficult task for her. She was greatly appreciative of our help. It was a small this to do but it was cool seeing how God placed us where we could help someone out even if it was simple. And it was awesome because I love doing yard work so it was a, win, win, win, win, win, situation. Everyone won! So good.

One last highlight of the week was a hike that I went on this morning. We went to Morgan hill and hiked a hill called El Torro. It was a fun hike. We didn't have a huge group of people so it was nice and personal. I love nature! I love hiking! I love friends! I love beautiful views! I love steep dirt hills! I love digital cameras! I love sunrises! I love perfect weather! I have nothing to complain about. It was a good morning and it's going to be another great day and a great week! I am so excited for this last transfer now! It is going to be amazing!!!!

My mission is the second best thing that has ever happened to me! Right behind being born into this family! This is a great work that we are a part of! Don't delay or doubt! Get out there and help our fellow brothers and sisters. I love you all so much! Have a great week!!!

 Elder Maxwell

Monday, August 24, 2015

The week of the final beginning‏

New Companion - Elder Wolfe
Old Companion - Elder Schnell
This has been a fast week! A lot has happened but at the same time a  lot of it is not interesting enough to make a good email so I will  keep to the more interesting topics of the week. Which leads us in to  the most prevalent news around town! I have officially begun my last  transfer as a missionary. Which means there will only be seven more of  these emails! That's pretty crazy. I can't believe I am down to the  end of these two years! It has been good! I have learned some things  along the way. The challenges that I have faced were not easy. Some of  my companions have been a great learning experience, to put it nicely.  And it all comes down to this. One more transfer that is just like all  the others. The feeling I expected is not here. Can you believe it!?  This transfer is feeling just like the other 16!!!

 But on to the details that everyone wants to hear about. I have  received my final companion. He has been out for 14 months. He is from  Apison Tennessee. He is awesome! He can read with his eyes closed! He  can do push-ups without his hands! He can sing hymns with his nose  plugged. You could say he is a man of many talents. I served with him  before, he was in Menlo Park for my first transfer in Saratoga. He is called Elder Wolfe.

 I was also recalled as a zone leader for my last transfer. I am not sure if I am happy or sad about that yet. I found out today at the  meeting so it was definitely sprung on me pretty quick. I really  enjoyed not having leadership responsibilities for these past couple  of transfers but I guess it is time to buckle down and be a good  example of finishing strong for all those around me. I am excited to  do exchanges again!!! I missed doing exchanges whenever I want.

 I am not sure what else to write about! I am excited and happy to come  home! I have missed everyone a ton! I am nervous as well. It is going  to be different. I am so glad that I made the choice to serve. It has  blessed me a ton! I am so happy out here doing the work and being in  California. I couldn't imagine being in a better place. I know that  what I am doing is right. I know that this gospel changes people! I  know that being the son of a bishop is no different than being a  normal member of the church. We are all held to the same standards.  The bishop, the primary teachers, the home teacher. We are all the  same. We are all just doing our best and as long as we do everything  that we can the Lord will bless us and take care of us. He will lift  us as we fall. We all have the opportunity to lift others as we are  doing what we need to do and in the process we will be lifted as well.  This church is a church of love and outreach. Come in and partake of  the incredible blessings that our Heavenly Father has in store for us.

 I love you all and hope that you all get lots of blessings this week!

 Love, Elder Maxwell

Monday, August 17, 2015

I can only imagine how our Heavenly Father feels

This week has been good. We have been really busy! We went back up into Menlo park zone for a baptism of one of elder Schnells past investigators.  It was cool going back to Menlo park. My son, Elder Freeman, is serving up there now. It is always good to see him and see how he is progressing in the mission. He is a stellar missionary. I highly doubt very much of that is because of my extensive rigorous training for his first six weeks. It is good to see that the style of missionary that I am has been reflected in the style of missionary he has become. It is cool knowing that your influence has been taken in and reflected in someone else. I believe this is similar to when a parent sees a child becoming like them. I can only imagine how our Heavenly Father feels as we make the right choices and do what He would have us do and as we continue to learn and grow through our experiences we are becoming more like Him and that has to make Him very happy. It makes so much sense that a Father would want his child to become like Him and then reach their fullest potential. Our Heavenly Father does not want us to fall short. He wants us to succeed in everything we do. I imagine He has such a hard time stopping Himself from reaching out and stopping us from making bad choices. 
This week is already freaking me out. I am realizing now that this week I find out if this is my last area or not. (It better be my last area or I will have some words to share with my mission president!) I also find out if I get to train again or not. I asked president in my interview this week to let me train or to give me a new missionary. We will see what he does. I am hoping for training and staying here. I love this area and couldn't see myself finishing anywhere else for seven weeks. I find out on Thursday if I am training and I find out Saturday if I'm staying.  Pray for me!!!

Love you all! Have a great week!!!

Love Elder Maxwell 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Another week closer to freezing!

 Another week down, another week closer to freezing! I am so excited to come home!!!!! Now let me explain myself. I can't wait to see all of you! I miss all of you a ton and knowing that I am close to seeing everyone makes me excited!!! But I am not "trunky," I am still 100% focused on the work. I have things that I need to accomplish before I can finish this mission so I am working hard so that when the time comes I can return home instead of having to extend and miss the 7 day overlap. That would not be good. I don't think that will be a problem though so Mom, you can stop holding your breath now! :) 

That is exciting news about Jonathan getting his project approved and underway. If it's not all finished by the time I get home you can count me in for long hard hours of heavy labor! Ill even drag my feet to make the hours longer ;) I love projects like that so good choice Jonathan. I am guessing you will try to bust it out and get it done before the cold comes in. Which from the sounds of it has already started to happen for you all. If if helps you feel any better the weather out here is still perfect! I cant complain about a thing! I know we are in a drought and all but I am really enjoying all this sunny dry weather. Rain is a very inconvenient type of weather for missionaries! I don't know how i am supposed to do the whole adjustment coming home. Adjusting here was easy. I would do it over and over and over again! 
Before we go any further I want to tell you all about Angelo's Baptism!!!! It was amazing! Everything came together perfectly! It all started Friday with making the program for his baptism. Our ward mission leader would usually do it but he had just moved to Florida and the new one wasn't called until yesterday! So we were all on our own. I personally hate it when the Baptism programs look lame because they are just on a plain white piece of paper with words, so I decided to take it up a level with these programs. I knew I had missionary budget issues so I had to be conservative. We went to OfficeMax because I decided the thing that makes a good program is the paper it is printed on! We found some sweet metallic silver paper for just $5! It was on sale. I bought it and then headed over to the church to use a computer to start typing up the program. 30 minutes later the programs were printing and then I was cutting them and then, BAM! The best programs for a Baptism ever, had been made. Ill have to send a picture so you can all enjoy them as much as I do. Lots of people mentioned at the baptism that its little things like these programs that make a Baptism special for someone. Our mission presidents wife said, "the programs look like a wedding invitation, and that's a good thing!" Over all the set up went smoothly and before we knew it the time of 10:00am had arrived on Saturday morning. Nobody was there besides Angelo and us... We figured singles ward/mormon standard time. We gave it ten minutes and the room was packed. Including a few of Angelo's non-member friends and his family! The Baptism went smoothly and everyone really had a great time. There was a simple talk given on baptism and the Holy Ghost and then Angelo was Baptized! We shared a video of Jesus being Baptized while he was changing and we had the opportunity to share our testimonies about the reality of Our Living Savior! The spirit was strong and everyone had water falling out of their eyes. We then sang There is Sunshine in My Soul Today to fill the rest of the time before he got out. Once he was back a girl from the ward sang Teach Me To Walk In The Light. It was AMAZING!!!! She had such an incredible voice! The spirit once again hit everyone like Thor's hammer and then the baptism was over. I think one of the greatest moments of all was after the baptism when Angelo's mother who just two days before had seen his copy of the Book of Mormon and accused him of worshiping the devil, grabbed her own copy of the Book of Mormon and said. "I need this so I can read what its all about." How cool it that! The spirit is real! It can change hearts! I know that in the course of that baptismal service Angelo's mothers heart was softened and that she had felt the spirit and it prompted her to want to learn about this good feeling she had. I hope and pray that eventually she will decide to follow her sons example and the example of Jesus Christ and enter into the waters of baptism. It would change her families life forever!!! 

As far as the rest of the week nothing nearly as amazing happened. We met with a couple of members of our ward and helped them with some of the things they have been struggling with. We also meet fairly often with a young man named Mark. We have been seeing him every Saturday since I have been here and this past week we were helping him prepare a talk because he was asked to speak in sacrament meeting. We show up and he was excited for us to write his talk for him. I looked at him and said, "No way, you are writing this talk. We are here for moral support!" We coached him through the basics of giving a good talk and we told him that he had to speak about things he was passionate about. He concluded that he only was passionate about two things. One, he really liked being around missionaries. Two, he is a huge Oakland raiders fan. We conjured up a talk that combined an experience he has at a Raiders game and a missionary experience. He ended up giving a really good talk! And the best part is we only had to coach him along. He basically did it all himself. We had him compare his experience with Daniel and the Lions Den. Everyone loved it and his closing line of his talk was the best! He said, "...and the real miracle of it all, is that the Raiders actually won! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." Hahaha, I loved it. He did a great job. Everyone loves it when a youth speaker gives a great talk. It helps everyone realize that you don't have to understand everything to have a testimony about something. Simplicity is often the source of hope. As we back ourselves up to the basics it is often when we learn the most. I am really grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve a mission because I have learned so much from teaching the basics.
Well I think that is it. The week has been accounted for. I am loving it and working hard! Ill keep you all in my prayers! Have a fantastic week and stay warm!

Love, Elder Maxwell

Monday, August 3, 2015

Stuck making just 20 year old decisions

It has been a good week. We have been busy out and about doing man
things. 21 years of age requires a certain amount of responsible
choices. Such as buying a house, getting a credit score and getting a
wife. I guess I can't really do any of those three things right now.
That just means that I will be stuck making just 20 year old decisions
until I get home. The wo's of being an adult. Life just gets more and
more challenging. So many responsibilities. Bills to pay, the whole
shebang. Over all I would say being 21 feels exactly like I always
imagined! Did you know that when you turn 21 all the red words that
say "under 21" on your license magically disappear?!?! It was amazing.
What a moment. In all honesty its just like every other birthday,
nothing really feels different.

I love that conversation. I had this image of me running through the
airport juking out my siblings as if we were playing a game of rugby.
Everyone is trying to tackle me in a big hug but I'm too quick! I juke
left, spin right, slide under the legs and then BAM!!! I run into that
glass wall because I couldn't see it and I fall straight to the floor.
Then everyone dog piles on me just like we were the Crood family.
Hahaha, but of course it will be more elegant than that. Most likely
just like that scene out of Psych where the FBI guy jumps out of the
truck in his bulletproof vest and throws back his hair in the
sunlight. Puts on his sunglasses and does the swag walk all the way
over to everyone at which point Jonathan would say cut and give me
some suggestions on how to be a little more swanky and then would tell
me to do it again from the top. Whatever situation it ends up being I
am sure it will end with Mom getting the first hug.

 I think it is not a coincidence that all the missionaries spoke in
sacrament meeting there because all the missionaries in our Ward here
also spoke. I can attest to what you have said. The spirit was so
strong!!! In our testimony meeting I don't think it was the
missionaries that brought in the spirit so powerfully, I believe the
missionaries set the stage for the members to come in and really share
the truth. To really share what the spirit is telling them to share.
It was a really cool testimony meeting and I learned a lot from it. I
do hope that your experience was exactly the same, or maybe it is
slightly different coming from the viewpoint of a member rather than a

We were able to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium today. It was really
cool. I personally think that the aquarium in Boston was better but it
was cool to be at this one because of all the focus on the Jellyfish
and the sea otters. Sea otters are so cute! Absolutely amazing! So so
so cool. I still think that the jellyfish were my favorite though.
Jellyfish are living art. They are Gods creation that is there to
beautify the earth. So amazing!!! I love Jellyfish so I bought a
jellyfish shirt! Woo hoo! I hope it shrinks in the wash because the
small still looks huge. I need it to fit!!! Gotta be looking good. I
am 21 after all. We also got to see some divers doing maintenance.

Well as for our week that's about all that has been going on. Hope you
all are doing well. Sorry this is being sent so late. It was typed
earlier but this is the soonest it could get sent. Love you all!!!

Elder Maxwell