Last Letter! She'll be home by this time next week!
What a week. I can’t believe it’s been another week. I feel just like Sister Tanner and I just keep saying, I can’t believe it’s Saturday, and now I can’t believe It’s Tuesday. One more week! AHH! I don’t know how to handle it. It feels surreal. I feel so weird. But it’s worse having to think you will go home! I love being a missionary! I love everything about it. I love sharing the Gospel with everyone. It is such a privilege and blessing. I love being able to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I love learning and I loving changing and becoming. I love everything! AHH!
Well this morning we got to go to the temple. What a sweet experience. I love the temple. I love being able to go just one more time in Sydney. I know the temple is the same wherever I go, but I love being in a different country and being able to have the same Gospel, the same Church of Jesus Christ no matter where I am. I felt such a beautiful Spirit there this morning. I felt at peace. I felt God’s love for me. I feel like I’ve done all I could. I feel to say that I’ve been successful. Not to the measure of man’s success, but to the measure of God’s success. It wasn’t perfect at all. I made mistakes, but the Lord picked up. He helped me to keep going and because of that it can be counted as a success and victory.
As we sat in the Celestial Room I felt the love of our Heavenly Father. I felt His love for all his servants. I felt God’s love for the missionaries who serve so faithfully. I looked at them and saw them for who they really were, as disciples of Jesus Christ. It is amazing to me to be able to feel God’s love so strongly. It changes me every time, and it changes the way that I look at others. I’ve seen that as I’ve served. When you feel love for someone, you want/will do all you can to help them. You want to give them what you have, because they mean that much to you. I love that no matter who a person is, I can pray and receive love from our Savior Jesus Christ and I can feel the desire to share the Gospel with them. I can look at them as God sees them just as God tells Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7
“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
I’ve been able to reflect on my missionary service quite a lot in this past week, as I’ve been going through letters, books, journals and so on. My core experience with God has been able to see how much I’ve changed. It has been a gift from God that I have been able to come and serve, learn, grow, and change. I couldn’t have asked for a better 18 months. It was a hard 18 months, most definitely. But that was the way it needed to be. I needed to grow, God needed me to see the potential that I had. He always saw it, but I needed to have my eyes opened to what was in store.
Something that I learned as we had a zone conference this week was about handling stress and the relationship that I have with the Savior. I learned more about yoking myself with the savior and building my relationship with him. I reflected back on a lot of the experiences that we’ve had, and how imperfect the outcomes have been. But something that Dr. Taylor said stuck out to me. He said that “If it was necessary for me to do a better job, or do something different the Savior would have helped me to do it.” If my mission was supposed to be different then it was, then the Savior would have helped me to do it. I’ve learned so well how to trust in God. I’ve learned that it’s His plan, or no plan. I’ve learned that I’m nothing, but to Him I’m everything and I can be everything.
We had an activity last week and one of the YSA sisters came up to me and asked me what the best advice/ thing I had learned since being a missionary. What came to mind was being aligned with God. I’ve learned the importance of losing myself completely.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
I’ve learned that I needed to lose who I was before. I needed to lose my Natural Woman, and lose my worldly self. I needed to find my God like self. I needed to find my potential to become like God. But I couldn’t find that until I let go, until I put all my trust in God’s hands and came and served a mission.
My experience as teaching as the Savior taught was with a member referral named. She is so amazing. We visited her on Wednesday evening and she was so ready and prepared. Her dad is a member of the Church but he hasn’t gone in years. They are a Church going family and she has a strong belief in God. We stood out on the porch for about 1 hour talking, and discussing her beliefs. We spoke a lot about why God allows suffering to occur. She told us about her Grandparents dying and how much of an impact it had on her brother. He moved away from home and didn’t want to come back because of the toll it had taken on him. We were able to testify to her that God allows us to suffer, because it charges growth. It allows us to change. It allows us to be open, and humble to His counsel, and His plan. It was a powerful experience.
My level of obedience on the mission has changed my life completely. I’ve learned the difference between Natural Man’s Obedience, or Selective Obedience, and Savior-like obedience. I’ve learned to put my heart into it and actually desire to be obedient. I’ve learned to want to get out of bed each day and make the choice, because it means something to me. I’m not where I should be, I still have a long way to go, but I’ve seen the difference and know what to strive for.
I’ve learned to let the Savior imprint this on my heart. As I’ve studied the love that He had for all of us to be able to perform the Atonement, I’ve had my mind and heart opened to want to serve Him more effectively and to be obedient. I’m just on the beginning stages of understanding, but I’m grateful for what I’ve been able to learn and understand because it has changed who I am and has helped me to continue and desire to be better and more consecrated.
Well. My last letter….what else to say. I’ve been serving the Lord full time for 18 months. I’ve been working everyday from 6:30am to 10:30 pm and sometimes longer. I’ve been studying for at least 2 hours every day. I’ve prayed more then ever before. I’ve spoken with my priesthood leaders more then ever before. I’ve watched peoples lives change, and I’ve been able to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands. I’ve lived with someone 24/7 for 18 months. I’ve never had a moment alone. I’ve been impacted by the spirit daily. I’ve been changed as I’ve read and listened to conference talks daily. I’ve seen people make covenants with God, and I’ve seen the real joy and peace the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings. I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen sorrow, heartache, and pain. I’ve seen grief and deep Godly sorrow. I’ve seen regret, and I’ve seen mistakes. I’ve seen judgement and I’ve seen repentance. I’ve seen humility and pride. I’ve seen God’s hand in my life.
I’m no where near what I was or, who I was before. I’m completely different, and yet still much the same. I’m still Sister Benjamin, but I’m a converted Sister Benjamin. I’m a fighter, and a peace maker. I’m changed, and I love the Lord.
I know God lives. I know He loves me! I know he Loves all of us. His love is not like the love we can give. His love is a love that changes us, it makes us like him. I know that Jesus is the Christ. HE is my Savior. He is my Redeemer. He did perform the Atonement, and He enables me and forgives me because of it. I know that I’m not perfect. I know I have a long way to go. But I know that God is not finished with me yet. I know that I am still able to change, I can still become more like Him. I know I still have time until God says there is no more time. I know it. I know God speaks, and answers prayers. I know that I am changed forever. But I also know this is just the beginning.
I love you all
Thank you so much for being a part of my service. Thank you for your prayers and loving words of encouragement. Thank you for being there every step of the way.
I love you,
P.S. I can't believe it's finally here. I will see you next week! AHH! LOVE YOU ALL! CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACES!