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, September 14, 2015

One of the more interesting ways to do missionary work.

This has been another great week! We have had a lot of fun and a lot of success with the returning members in our ward. As far as our investigators go they all bailed on us this week but we still feel successful because we were able to stop by and help a lot of our members. 

One of my favorite stories of the week was when we had just gotten out of a meeting and we went to stop by a very inactive member of the church. We stop by and visit him and his wife every once in a while and we always offer to help him out around his house. He is an elderly man and there are plenty of things that he could use some help with. He has never taken us up on our offer. This one time though, as we stop by in our white shirts and ties he says that he has a quick project for us to help him with. The word 'quick' reassured us that we would be able to get it done with no problem in our shirts and ties. We get out back where his 'quick' project is and there are two huge slabs of concrete that used to be steps down from his house that he wanted moved. We are talking 6'x6'x2' slabs of solid concrete. TWO of them! There was no way that were were moving them how they were because they were probably 1000 lbs each, so we asked him if he had a sledge hammer... For the next 1.5 hours we swung a sledge hammer at concrete to break it apart into movable pieces. Remember that this entire time we are in our white shirts and ties and just to make it a little bit more fun Mother Nature decided to have it be 102 degrees out that day. We were sweating like pigs. So gross, but we got it done and he was amazed that we were able to break them apart and move them. He didn't have too much faith in our ability to accomplish what he had asked us to do. I think he was trying to give us a job that he thought was impossible but we made it happen! He was very pleased with the work that we did. I am really happy that we got to help him and that we were able to swing a sledge hammer. Takes me back to the good old days of splitting wood! Which reminds me that I never split that wood for the Wolfe Family... I owe them 2 hours of wood splitting I think. I feel very accomplished after helping them out in their yard. Unfortunately I only got one video and no photos. The video is only of my companion too, and he makes it look easy in the video but trust me it was not very easy. Most of the time it would take about five or more hits to get the concrete to split. Ill send the video so I don't sound crazy.

We also had a really good meeting with a less active newly wed couple. They are super cool! We had a family home evening with them on Monday last week and it was fantastic! We shared a message and played a lot of board games with them. We talked and really got to know one another. They are super cool because thy are real with us. They expect us to be ourselves and they are themselves with us as well which makes everything so much better. When nobody is sheltering themselves behind walls then everyone is a lot more comfortable around each other. We had a great night and I lost Apples to Apples by a long shot. Wasn't even close to being competition for the winner. We taught a lesson about how sacrifice brings forth blessings and we got into a really good discussion about why they are not coming to church and we learned that they know the church is true and they know it is what they need but the reason they come is because there is nobody in the ward that they can relate to. Our ward is relatively 'old' people or families with little children. There honestly nobody in our ward that is in the same situation that they are in. Newly married without kids. So I can understand how they would feel like the ward wasn't a very good fit for them. I am not sure what direction we should head in with them but we are counting on the spirit to guide us and help us to do what we need to do!

We also have an investigator right now who has been meeting with missionaries for the past year. He is not technically in our ward but we have been asked to work with him for a specific reason. He has a strong testimony of the church and knows that he needs to join but he has a phobia of people touching him. And its not just some thing where you are scared of a spider, it is an actual medical condition that I don't know what it is called. But he wrestles with missionaries to help him get over his fear. He has to take a drug right now that essentially makes him 'high' so that he can tolerate people touching him. He wants to be baptized but he doesn't want to be 'high' while he is doing it so the wrestling is a therapeutic way for him to be able to get used to people touching him and he slowly works his way off of the drug while wrestling and it will prepare him to be baptized. A lot of details and pieces that go into play that I don't understand but our mission president asked us to help him out on Saturday mornings so we started this past Saturday wrestling him. I am not a wrestler but I did my best to hold my own against him. What really happened was we would wrestle until he made me tap and then we would go again and again and again. It was fun and I got a really good workout. One of the more interesting ways to do missionary work. But we do it early in the morning so it does not take away from our prime Saturday proselyting time.

As you said I haven't really had FIVE areas, but I have had amazing areas my whole mission.

My area that I was most excited to go to when I got the transfer call was the ASL Branch in Fremont. I was so happy and ecstatic and bouncing off of walls at that transfer meeting. I loved serving in that program because of the wide range of coverage that we had. We could go anywhere and do anything across the entire mission! I was able to travel and visit places that most missionaries don't get to do because it would be disobedient. I was able to go to San Francisco, Oakland, Concord, Fairfield, Monterrey, and Santa Cruz, all while living in Fremont. How lucky we were! And we were doing missionary work in all of those places! I got to travel and see the whole mission even though I haven't served across the whole mission.

I Loved Stanford a ton because of the atmosphere that was there. There is something about serving in an area with only people that are young and single and are doing exactly what you would be doing if you weren't a missionary. Which means that we were doing all those normal things but with the mindset of missionary work rather than the mindset of getting married. It was such a cool experience and unlike any other area in the mission. I cannot compare it to any of my other wards because it is so unique. 

Los Gatos ward has been such an incredible ward to finish in! I absolutely love the people here and because I have gone through a companion each transfer here the ward loves me because I have been consistent. There is so much knowledge and experience here in this ward and I have gotten so much great advice from very successful people for the rest of my life here. It has been the best place to start the adjustment to the real world again. I love this ward so much and am so glad that I get to finish here. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

I served in three other areas on my mission at the very beginning but I can't think of anything that really sticks out as a learning experience. I feel like all the transition at the beginning of my mission from Spanish in Greenfield to English in Irvington and then a quick change to Central Park was all preparing me for the rest of my mission where I just stayed in one place for a really long time. That's all that comes to mind. Besides training my son Elder Freeman. I loved that transfer. He is such a stud and he taught me so much and has turned out to be such a great missionary. He was already a great missionary the day he started his mission. He is now serving as a zone leader up in Menlo Park where I previously served as a zone leader.

I love you all! That is time and I have wrote a lot. Have another great week!

Until Next Time,
                Elder Maxwell

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