This week has been amazing!!! All of the hard work is paying off. We have been trying and trying and trying, and now it is time for success! It may have something to do with all the students returning to college this past week. This past Tuesday we hosted a free lunch for all of the students on campus at our institute building. So it was our job to go out and invite them all to come and join us for a free lunch. I can testify right now that there is no easier way to talk to someone than when you are offering them free food. Nobody brushed us off. Everyone was kind even if they couldn't make it to the lunch. We had some really cool experiences with people. I was going out with Elder Masima to talk with people and we weren't having much luck inviting anyone in. It was hot and we were tired so we decided to go and stand in the shade. So we stood there and as we were standing there the first two guys to see us waved to us, so we went and talked to them and they decided that free lunch sounded great. We walked with them into the institute building where there were six more missionaries. We showed them where the food was and snuck out while they were filling their plates. We wanted to go back out and find more people! Right as we left the building we saw a brother (darker skinned like Masima) walking away. I told Masima he needed to call out to him. So he called out, "Brother! Yous eaten?" He was a little confused but he asked him again if he had eaten and he said no so we brought him in to the free lunch. Same thing as before, we snuck out while he was getting food and left him in the hands of the other missionaries. We found a couple more people doing this and once there was a good number of non members inside we went in got food and started making friends. There were 13 non member friends in there on Tuesday. Almost all of them said they would be back tomorrow! So cool! The hope is that eventually this will lead them to taking an institute class or meeting up with us missionaries. Give people free food and they will hear you out for a minute or two an that's all you need to let them see that there is something special here.
We also had a lot of success in Los Gatos ward this week. We have been trying relentlessly to get this less active newly wed couple to let us in to visit them but have tried in vain for the longest time. Until Friday night! We stopped in Friday night and they were both home. They welcomed us in and initially they only had ten minutes for us but we stayed for probably two hours just talking with them and it was amazing! We got to know them well enough and they invited us over for dinner tonight! So we are going to go have a FHE with them. Games, food, and a message. It is great! We are making huge strides with them even if it just means they are friends with missionaries.
I have gotten the feeling that with such a little amount of time left that the remainder of my mission is going to be spent finding people that will join the church after I leave. Although I am convinced that there is at least one more individual that need me to play some sort of influence in their conversion process. Because of that there is not an option to slow down or kick the bucket of being a full time missionary early. Fight to the end. It's not worth it to give up.
My five favorite mission companions huh... This is super painful, so hard to do
Now I won't put them in any specific order. This is just a random list of five great companions.
First, Elder Kirby. He taught me a lot about what it means to be a good leader. The way that he showed genuine love for each and every member of the zone is something that I have taken with me and will continue to practice for the rest of my life.
Second, Elder Jensen. Can I say he was great because he taught me how to be patient? He was a super fun companion because of the crazy things he would do. Or the crazy bad luck that he had. So many good memories with him and a lot of laughs. He is the companion that taught me not to get hung up on the little things.
Third, Elder Olenslager. My first companion. Taught me what being a missionary is all about. How to work hard. What we teach was always on my mind with him. I really learned the gospel basics from Preach My Gospel with him. He definitely set the course of my entire mission.
Fourth, Elder Reid. He was the first companion that I had that understood what it means to work had and have fun at the same time. We never had any arguments and got along really well because we were both super happy to be working hard and having fun with the Stanford YSA.
Fifth, Elder Hamilton. He was a ton of fun but also caused a lot of stress. Being his companion was a huge learning experience. I learned how to forget about myself and focus on helping others. He taught me a lot through his struggles. I really learned how to reach out.
I could probably do one of those for all 17 of my companions but it would take way too long so there it is.
This week has been full of blessings. Never doubt that God will provide as we are diligent and do our best to do his work. In his own time he will provide. He always has and he always will. I know that is true. Keep pressing forward.
Have a great week! Have fun starting school but not too much fun! I love you all!!! I am excited to be getting home 7 hours earlier! 1030 was way too late!!!
Love, Elder Maxwell