What a Wonderful Week

Well....I don't even know where to begin. This week, I can't believe it has only been a week. A lot can change in a week. I cannot believe it is the end of the year. I feel like this year has been one of the craziest years of my whole life. But the best too. I have loved becoming and being a missionary. It has been the single most life changing event that I have ever done. I am truly so amazed and literally in awe of the experiences that I have had. How could you not when an all powerful God is leading you and allowing you to be an instrument in his hands. I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have had on my mission and I would not change them for the world.

Well to start off, I want to express the true joy I felt this week being able to spend Christmas with the sweet and wonderful people in Australia. It didn't really even feel like Christmas to me. But at the same time it did. I guess it's just hard to explain and you really can't understand it unless you have been a missionary. The light of Christ truly was alive in a lot of eyes this week. So many doors were opened to us that wouldn't normally have been. But because it was Christmas more people let us in. One example was a wonderful neighbor to one of our less active members. We have met with her a couple of times but she hasn't been to keen to hear our message. When we went this week she had her grand kids with her and because it was Christmas Eve she let us share a Christmas message with her and her grandsons. We taught them about Jesus Christ and his birth using one of the nativity sets she had. The boys were just eating right out of our hands, so excited and interested in learning. And it was so sweet at the end to pray with them. These little boys (ages 3&6) had never prayed before or even heard of prayer. It was so sweet, it literally melted my heart, that these boys would kneel with us and fold their arms, close their eyes and be so reverent. The spirit was so strong.It made me think of an experience in the scriptures, when Jesus comes to visit the Nephites and blesses the little children.
In 3 Nephi 17: 20-24.
20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.
21 And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
22 And when he had done this he wept again;
23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.

This chapter is one of my favorites because I think it shows the true character of Christ. That he loved the little children and called them to him. He blessed them one by one and he wept because of the sweetness of the experience. I just couldn't help but feel this with these 2 little boys. They were so sweet and I love that they can know and feel the spirit even when they are that young. I love that Heavenly Father guided us and allowed us to have that experience what a special blessing!

Another wonderful blessing was being able to speak to my family. I felt the spirit very strongly and I was just so incredibly grateful that Heavenly Father placed me in such a wonderful family. Doing so allowed me to learn about the Gospel from the beginning for my whole life. What a powerful gift. Something though that my Dad said struck a cord with me. He asked what I was going to do differently for the rest of my mission to make it even better. I find it amazing that he asked because I had been pondering that so much lately. I had a very powerful experience doing so, which is my core experience with God this week.

On Christmas Eve I was having a lot of thoughts coursing through my head and I just couldn't seem to get a handle on them. I was distracted and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. But one thought wouldn't leave my mind. I felt I needed to go pray. So I did. I didn't know what I was going to say, so I just started telling Heavenly Father the thoughts going through my head. As I continued to tell him more and more, this feeling of overwhelming peace overcame me. I couldn't help but tear up. I knew in that moment that Heavenly Father had heard my plea, that He was aware of me and that He knew me and my concerns. He acknowledge me and it was one of the most powerful prayers I have ever had. When I was praying and feeling this response I couldn't help but think about all the times I had chats like this with my parents. When I would be struggling or had a lot on my mind I would just always go and talk to them. They would help me and I would just feel a lot better. But this time is was different and even more special because I was able to have that experience with my Heavenly Father.

In that prayer as well I felt my will coming even more to the will of the Father. I felt so close to Him and I just felt this strong desire and pull to do what he asked of me, whatever it would entail. Its good because on Saturday my companion and I found out about transfers. We didn't know what to expect and we found out we were both staying. Woot. What a relief I am so glad that we get to spend another transfer together. But a little while later we received another call. :) A call that was very humbling and exactly what the Lord needed at this time. President called us and asked us to be Sister Training Leaders. Wow. I didn't see that one coming. But I am so so excited. I am so grateful for this new opportunity to serve the wonderful sisters in this mission. It has been amazing to me to, in just the last little while how much my love has grown for all the sisters and some of them I haven't even met yet. I feel a lot though that I'm not the one who will be helping them, that they will be helping me. All these sisters are amazing Daughters of God and I can't wait to see how this transfer plays out. I love that it gives us the time and opportunity to serve them more, think about ourselves less and just give of all our time and talents to serving the Lord. I am so excited! :)

"Coincidence is one of those events caused by the Lord who chooses to remain anonymous." -Elder Dallin H. Oaks. I would like to share one last experience that I feel is literally no coincidence. My companion and I, Saturday evening, went to go visit a member. We were excited because we had planned a lesson totally by the spirit and I really wanted to share it with her. But sadly we knocked on the door and no one answered. So we decided to walk back to the car and go see our back up. As we were walking we saw a man working on his car. So of course we go and speak to him. He begins to tell us all about his religion. That he is Christian, that he doesn't believe in organized religion, or having church buildings or temples or anything of the sort. Something that we hear all too often I think. But we spoke to him and we were guided by the spirit completely talking about the Book of Mormon and he didn't seem to interested in what we had to say, but we weren't taking no for an answer. We committed him to pray about the things we had talked about and that we would follow up with him the next day.

One of the greatest things I have learned and grown to love on my mission, is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. What I love about this though, is that its not just a one sided relationship. Heavenly Father wants to have that relationship with us as well. More then we can even comprehend. Out of all the miraculous titles and callings he has the one he asks us to use is Father.

So of course we go back Sunday evening and he said he prayed but the answer he received was that he needed to help us, not us to help him. So we shared what the spirit allowed us to share, all the while trying to be calm and keep the spirit. And he just didn't want anything to do with it. But the interesting thing to me was how sincere he was and how much he believed what he said was true. And the amazing part of it, is that most of what he did say was true. And all Sister Lloyd and I could think about would be how wonderful he would be in the Church. He is so dedicated and He would do wonderful things. But sadly he wouldn't have it so we left. And as we were leaving I felt this huge feeling from the Spirit that, that lesson was exactly what needed to happen. We needed to share all the things we did even if he didn't accept it. And as we all know we have our agency we can decide what we like. I am still praying for him that one day he will have a mighty change of heart and want to learn more. And who knows  maybe he will. But what is amazing to me always is how much our Heavenly Father loves each one of his children. He gives them the opportunity to hear the Gospel even if they won't accept it. He does everything he possibly can short of forcing us, to accept His Gospel. 

I know that God lives. I know that He loves each and everyone of us so much. I know that without this Gospel I would be no where. I am so grateful to have been raised in a wonderful family and in the Church.
I love you and hope you have a wonderful week.
Love Sister Benjamin


December 23, 2013

This week has been quite the blur. I feel like it has gone by so fast, but so slow at the same time. I can't really explain it I guess. Just missionary time for you. It always seems to go faster then I like....I seriously can't believe it is the end of 2013. I never felt like this time would come. I feel like it has been one of the best years of my entire life. I have learned so much and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to be serving my Heavenly Father and His children.

My wonderful core experience with God this week was being able to finish the Book of Mormon. That was an amazing opportunity for me. Wow. I seriously love the Book of Mormon so much! I can't believe I ever went a day of my life without reading it. It truly is God's word and I am so grateful that we have it on the earth today. As I got nearer and nearer to the end, I got more and more excited to pray to my Heavenly Father and ask to know if it was true. I love that I was able to find out for myself again that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. We are truly so lucky and so blessed to have such a powerful book on the earth today, to help us come closer to Jesus Christ. It is one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has ever given us. As I finished it I was trying to figure out how I should be reading the Book of Mormon this time through, with what lens I should read it with. And as I was sitting in Sacrament meeting yesterday the answer came. And I feel that this time I will read it through the lens of "coming unto Christ." The whole book is full of ways to help us to come closer to Christ and I feel that as I read it through this way I will be able to better testify to God's children that the Book of Mormon really will help and inspire them to come closer to Jesus Christ. And as I have started it again it has been amazing to see just in the first few chapters how many different things there are that help us come closer to Jesus Christ. I have felt the spirit so strongly as I have been reading and applying the things to my life. Ahh. I just love it so much. :)

In my practice in teaching as Jesus taught, I really have been trying to focus more on the investigator and not myself. As I have been studying the scriptures and praying, I have asked to be able to know better what they need to hear and what they need to be taught. And it has been amazing to see the results. I know that as Jesus taught the people he always taught them what they needed to hear and did what they needed. One day I was reading just where I had left off the day before, but Heavenly Father helped me to have a verse stand out to me that we needed to share with an Investigator. And as we did share it with her, she just opened up and told us how she was feeling. The spirit was so strong and it was so powerful to see how much Heavenly Father really truly does know his children.

I feel though that something that has been the strongest theme of this week has been working through the Holy Ghost. As I have prayed for that to be my focus, I have seen so much more the guiding hand of the Holy Ghost in this work. We had such a powerful lesson with a member in the ward. She has been really struggling lately feeling that her testimony is not strong enough and that she has not had as many powerful experiences as other people and all these other things. And as I listened to her the spirit just flooded into my body with feelings of God's love for her. I was able to testify to her because of the Holy Ghost that Heavenly Father created her uniquely and just the way she is for a purpose. That her life is how it is supposed to be, and that the experiences that she has had are tailored just to help her in her progression to become more like her Heavenly Father. As I said the words I knew they weren't mine and it was amazing to feel the love once again that Heavenly Father does have for his children. And then as I was studying a quote came to mind that I thought really went quite well with this experience.
George Q. Cannon said: "There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually given His angels—invisible beings of power and might—charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping." I love this quote because it really is true. God TRULY does love us all so much. Regardless of who we are or what we've done, his love is always there. He has prepared the means for all of us to return to Him and He will do everything He can to help us get there. We just have to be willing to participate.

Another really powerful experience with the Holy Ghost is a lesson that we had with an investigator. We have been trying to meet up with her for ages and it just hasn't seemed to work out. She has been at Church and things but we just haven't been able to meet with her for a while. So this week we finally got the opportunity. It was amazing to because her family has been a little hostile to missionaries in the past, not even letting them in their home, but for some reason she let us in her home. So we had a lesson ready and I felt that we should share a scripture about the Holy Ghost. It was Ether 4:11"But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good." It was amazing to see that that was what she needed. She opened up and began to discuss with us the things that she knew to be true and the things that she was still searching for. Because of the Holy Ghost we were able to help her with some of the things that she was struggling with and because of that my testimony grew stronger.

Another lesson we had was with a member. And she is very strong in the Church and we had asked her earlier in the week if there was someone that we could go and visit with her. And she gave us a name and we tried to make a time, but they were gone, so we felt and decided to have a lesson with her instead. It was amazing that Heavenly Father helped that to happen because he knew what she needed. We felt to discuss the Story of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. We discussed it and talked about the atonement. She bore powerful testimony to us of how the Atonement had helped her through her trials and how she had become stronger through her trials. At then end of the lesson she kept saying "wow, this is exactly what I needed today." It was incredible to me to see how when the Holy Ghost is the true teacher they will feel the spirit and they will change for the better. We then ended the lesson with a prayer. As I was kneeling I just felt that I wasn't saying the prayer anymore, that the words coming to my mind and out of my mouth were directly from Heavenly Father and the spirit was so powerful. I just couldn't help but feel it and grow stronger in my faith and my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Truly the spirit will witness to us and let the truth be known.

I truly have no idea where I would be without the Holy Ghost. Yesterday we had made plans for the day and as we were going about them, the appointments we had made fell through, but then we were able to catch up with one of our less actives and talk about his Book of Mormon reading. Then we went to the next person we had planned to see, but they weren't home. I felt strongly that we should talk to the people across the road and we were able to teach them about the plan of salvation. Then both Sister Lloyd and I felt to go see one of our Recent Converts. We did and he really needed the chat and lesson. He had been struggling and Heavenly Father allowed us to be the instruments in his hands to help him. As Sister Lloyd and I were discussing our day, we had realized that Heavenly Father had blessed us with all those powerful experiences, because we had been really prepared for the day, we had made the plans and we were being as obedient as we could be. Heavenly Father truly does bless us when we strive to do our best. And just imagine what would have happened if we weren't doing what we were supposed to. I know that God truly does help us and guide us to those who need the help and strength, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.

If nothing else I know that I was supposed to come to this area to truly learn the goodness and strength that the wonderful people of Toronto have. I have been strengthened and helped because of their goodness. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father sending me to serve in this area and to serve this mission. I love being able to see the light come back into someones eyes and be able to share and testify of the things I know to be true.
I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the things I know to be true, and for a loving Heavenly Father who truly does help and guide us to those who stand in need.
Love you all
Sister Benjamin


December 16, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,
Wow. What a crazy crazy week. I can't believe that I have gone through a whole week again. It literally feels like 2 seconds. But that is missionary life and missionary time for ya. I really did love this week. I learned so much and for that I am so very grateful. I have no idea how I would handle being a missionary if it weren't for the things I learned. That's what pulls me through and I just love it so much.

My core experience with God this week was really receiving more knowledge and guidance for my life. I had great studies this week but Friday was my favorite. I had finished reading in the Book of Mormon that day, and I felt that I should study a conference talk. I was going to start in the beginning of the Ensign and go through like that but I really felt that I needed to study a specific talk. The one by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "The Moral Force of Women." Wow. Talk about an amazing talk! It really is so powerful. As I read the talk I couldn't help but think about all the amazing women in my life and the powerful moral authority they have had and still do have. But the one thing that really rings true to me is thinking about my Mum. One of the quotes that really stuck out to me that really personifies her is this, " A mother can exert an influence unequaled by any other person in any other relationship." It then goes on to talk about the mother’s example leads her sons to "learn to respect womanhood, and incorporate discipline and high moral standards." It leads her daughters to "learn to cultivate their own virtue, and to stand up for what is right again and again however unpopular." I know my Mum led so much by example and because of that example her kids turned out right. I am so grateful for my mum, and the example and high standards she set for my family.
Another quote that really stuck out to me, which led to a lot of wonderful insights, was this "Whether you are single or married, whether you have borne children or not, whether you are old, young, or in between, your moral authority is VITAL and perhaps we have begun to take it and you for granted." As I was sitting there pondering the thought came to mind to pull out my patriarchal blessing. As I started to read it all these thoughts seemed to just flow right into my head. I had this overwhelming feeling about me and my future family. I can't express how it felt, words just wouldn't do it justice. I felt very strongly that the reason I am on my mission, among other things, is to cultivate and truly develop moral authority and to really understand the Gospel. This will help me later on in life but also my future family. I felt very strongly that I needed to be prepared for whatever happens and that is why my testimony and my faith need to be strong. I need to decide here and now never to deviate from my standards so that I can help my children and others grow stronger in their faith and dedication to Heavenly Father.

I just can't thank Heavenly Father enough for giving us the gift of the Holy Ghost to teach us what is true and keep us on the right track. And a scripture that came to my head that is one of my favorites really helped me to feel calm about the whole situation. Its Mosiah 2: 41 " And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it." I love this scripture because it is Heavenly Father showing us that as we live righteously and follow him and all the counsel he gives us, we will be blessed in all things both temporally and spiritually. What an incredible blessing and promise!

My experience this week in teaching as Jesus Taught is teaching in unity and the power that comes from it. Sister Lloyd and I have really been working on teaching in unity and as we have done so, with the help of Heavenly Father, of course, I have noticed great power and spirit in our teaching. One lesson in particular with our Recent Convert. She was talking a lot about wanting to share the Gospel with her friends and my companion and I both felt to share the same conference talk with her. We were able to teach in unity and power and I was so grateful to be able to have that opportunity. I know that Jesus taught 100% in unity with Heavenly Father and I want to be able to teach 100% in unity with the Holy Ghost. Because that is how people’s lives are changed and that is how people become converted.

Something else really wonderful happened this week as well. Heavenly Father really helped me to be humble this week and for that I am truly grateful. When we are humble we rely on Heavenly Father a whole lot more, because we realize we need him. I was really struggling this week feeling really discouraged and I didn't realize it at the time, but Heavenly Father had answered my prayer from earlier on in the week. I had prayed to understand what I needed to change and do better so that I could see more success. But after I did that I didn't feel all too great. So I talked to my companion and I got a priesthood blessing and such. But it wasn't until I heard this that it all came together. One of my companion's friends had written her this and she felt to share it with me. "When I first arrived on my mission, I had an idea of what I would do, and what I would accomplish. I think everyone sort of does. And when I came out on my mission, reality did not meet my expectations, and I really was disappointed. But only disappointed in myself. I thought, if I could only work harder, labor longer, or whatever, then maybe everything would be how I wanted it, or how I expected it to be. I have realized that this really isn't our work at all. So when reality doesn't quite match up with our dreams, that is okay. Because it’s not our work. It is the Lord's work. He stands at the head of it. We can be quite sure that if we are being obedient, and working hard and feeling the spirit, that we are doing all that is asked of us. We need to stop putting quotas and expectations on ourselves, or letting other people do the same. This is what leads to loss of hope. We can have the hope that our mission will be just what the Lord’s planned for it to be. Maybe that means no Baptisms. Maybe that means no re-activated less actives. Maybe our whole mission is one big garden of Gethsemane. There are a lot of maybes. But if we have our faith and hope centered in Jesus Christ, on his message and his Gospel, then nothing else really matters. Some people think that hope means hope in what we want. That isn't right. It's hope in Christ. It's hope in the eternities. We didn't tell the Lord we would only serve if we could actually see the fruits of our efforts. We just promised him that we would serve and work our hardest to labor in the field. No one told us that it would be easy, but everyone has said it would be worth it. If we tell ourselves that we have done nothing, and that it isn't worth it, our pride is getting in the way of the work. That may be harsh, but I know from personal experience that it is true."
So in a round about way I was taught that this isn't my mission at all. It truly is the Lord’s mission. And when He wants things to happen, He will make them happen. We should consider ourselves lucky to be able to servants in His Hands. So Helaman 15:3 comes to mind.
3 "Yea, wo unto this people who are called the people of Nephi except they shall repent, when they shall see all these signs and wonders which shall be showed unto them; for behold, they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them." This is at the point when the Nephites the Lords chosen people are being chastened because of their wickedness and the Lord loves them enough to help them get back on track, by chastening them. Heavenly Father once again was helping me be that much better and able to represent him and for that I am grateful.

And on a more exciting note, throughout the course of my mission, as you can see from every letter I write, is how much I have come to love learning. It’s crazy to me because I never ever thought that I could love learning. I didn't really enjoy it at school. But I came to the conclusion that I didn't like it because I knew there would be a test. And the more I learned the harder and longer the test would be. And the thought of taking a test made me cringe. But now I've been able to come on a mission and have test free learning. How great it is! Ha :) I love learning which really is good because knowledge will put us so much further along in the next life. Truly the Christlike attribute of knowledge is a gift from God and I am so grateful to have gained so much on my mission. I truly have grown to love the scriptures. They bring great comfort and joy to my life.
I am so grateful that I have been able to come and serve the Lord for this time in my life. And I hope that as I continue onward I will learn to better able be a representative of Jesus Christ.
Love you
Sister Benjamin


How Sweet It Is...

My Dear Wonderful Family and Friends,
What a week! A very great week! I really learned a lot this week, and it has changed my mission for the better. I am loving being in Toronto. The area is absolutely gorgeous. The Lake just ahh. It makes me feel so happy . :) I love the water. Just looking at it makes me so grateful for God's beautiful creations. I think we take the Earth for granted. We really should appreciate it more. The beautiful blue sky, or the wonderful thunderstorms, the mountains, the valleys, green trees, flowers, the SNOW, the sunshine, and so much more. Everything Heavenly Father made just for us. So we could truly be grateful for it.

I have really loved being here and getting to know the members. Our Ward Mission Leader is fantastic. We go over there every Friday night for Dinner and Missionary Coordination Meeting. He and His wife are such sweethearts. They found a little store that sells all sorts of American candy and cereal and every time we have gone there they have gotten something from home for us. They are so sweet. They had us try a Tim Tam Slam. But a legitimate one with Milo and Tim Tams. Oh it was so good Ha. :) They are just fantastic people, as are all the other people here. I have been exposed to many different cultures in this area. Samoan, Tongan, Filipino, American, Australian, Swedish, South African, Mandarin-Chinese, Indonesian-Chinese and so on. So many different kinds of people but they are all wonderful, and I love them all. :) It was great too, in the spirit of thanksgiving, we were going and teaching people about gratitude. One Family invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner, and she went online and found all these American recipes. It tasted so good. Just like the big Thanksgiving meal we have at home.

A great experience I have had this week is trying to develop charity on a more personal and powerful level. Charity has been something that I have been trying to develop throughout the course of my mission, and I'm sure it will be an attribute that I strive to develop for the rest of my life. My companion and I really are trying to help the people here have more charity, and then help ourselves have more charity. So we made it a goal for this transfer to study and develop charity. So far it has been a really wonderful experience. So this week in my study of the Book of Mormon, I've been reading about Samuel the Lamanite and the time right before the Savior visits the Nephites. As I did so I just sat back and pondered on what I was reading and the spirit just started to flood through me. It was one of the most powerful times I have felt the spirit on my mission. I learned that I need to study the entire Book of Mormon through a lens. And the lens is a lens of God's love for his children. The pattern and power of love that God has for his children is truly miraculous and I am just beginning to scratch the surface. As I have been doing this, this week the words on the pages just seem to come straight to life. Heavenly Father truly does love all of his children. And I know that as I do this I will better be able to testify to his children of the love He has for them. And it has already started to affect everything else that I do. One evening we were driving home to go and start planning and she was saying something to me and I just had this overwhelming feeling of God's love for her. It was such a strong feeling, my chest was burning and it literally moved me to tears. I couldn't hold them back and I was trying to tell her this and then we both just cried. It was a really powerful experience. I know that Heavenly Father knows me so well. He gave me an incredible companion. I love her. We have learned so much from each other, in the short time that we have been together. I have had some of the most powerful companionship studies sessions with her this week. We just both love studies so much and it makes me happy to have a companion who enjoys it just as much as me. :)

Another powerful testimony to me of God's love for his children is when we were trying to follow up with an investigator the Elders previous to us had been teaching. We called him and made an appointment and everything. We got there, knock knock. And no one answers. Now this is the 3rd time that week that we had tried to catch up with him but he just never seemed to be home. We looked at our planners and realized that a lady in the ward lives right next door to this guy. So we both felt strongly to go and knock on her door. As we did, she answered and she just got this huge smile on her face. She invited us in and we chatted had the usual get to know you game. Then we watched a Mormon Message with her. The new one about Christmas. And we talked about in the spirit of Christ and Christmas, something that she could give up or be better at as her gift to the Savior. And as we just sat listening and letting her think about it, the spirit was just so strong. I felt this intense feeling of God's love for her. And I knew she was feeling it too, and all 3 of us just couldn't help but be teary eyed. She said she had been feeling a little bit down this week and that our visit was exactly what she needed. It was an answer to my prayers for sure, and it was just amazing to me that Heavenly Father would lead us directly too her, because he knew she needed the visit. Ahh. I just love being a missionary.

In my practice this week to become more like the Savior, I really tried to listen to the people and listen to the spirit. And let me tell ya, it isn't always the easiest experience to have. We went over to our investigators house and we were sitting on the porch, and it’s hot and I'm sweating in places that I haven't probably sweat before. Just all over my whole body. It felt really gross. But hey just the joys of summer right? But I knew I needed to pay attention to this man because I knew that if I did something amazing would happen. So we started to talk about the Book of Mormon and he immediately had all these questions. I did my best to stay calm and listen to him and answer his questions through the spirit. And this amazing thing happened. The Holy Ghost just began to fill my whole body. It was such a strong feeling, and I just knew exactly what to say to this man. He had had a lot of concerns previously and I knew that all the questions were just him trying to give us something else so we wouldn't address his concern. But the spirit was able to tell me his concern. I was able to testify to him, as a representative of Jesus Christ that the Atonement would help him overcome his fears and that it would give him the enabling power that he needed. Holy Cow. I couldn't help but get a little teary eyed again. The spirit certainly touched my heart and I know it touched his. Even if that was the only powerful experience I had on my mission it would change my life for the better. I'm truly grateful that I get to experience the wonder and amazement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these the latter days.

Something I think that has been the most influential part of my mission is me learning about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Before my mission I could tell you what it was but I could never tell you how it felt. I mean I've had occasions in my life where the Atonement has worked really powerfully in my life, but not the enabling side of it. I knew the Atonement helped me to be forgiven of my sins, but I don't think I really understood how it was the enabling power to everything in my life. The Atonement truly is amazing. It is so AMAZING that our mortal minds cannot comprehend the magnitude of it. The Atonement is something that I have truly come to love and cherish on my 
mission. It makes everything that happens possible. It allows me to overcome weaknesses into strengths, to overcome the natural man. That is something that has and still is happening on the mission, and I'm sure it will continue through out the rest of my life. But an experience that has really helped me grow is the time I spent in Grafton, but particularly the first couple weeks. I was really struggling with a lot of homesickness and struggling with feeling all alone and not being good enough and all the crazy things that go through my mind. I just felt useless. Satan had really grasped a strong hold upon my heart. It felt just like in the end of Helaman and the beginning of 3 Nephi. Satan was trying really hard to prevent me from being a missionary. I just got to a point that I really couldn't seem to keep going. I felt so weak and I didn't know what to do. But I got down on my knees and I prayed. I prayed for such a long time and probably harder than ever before and I told Heavenly Father everything that was on my mind. All the feelings I had been experiencing and all the problems that I was facing. And after I stopped praying and I just sat there. And this overwhelming feeling of love and strength came into my body. I felt this strength propelling me forward. I knew in that moment more then I ever have before that my Savior Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father knew who I was. That Jesus Christ really had gone through, and overcome all the mistakes and problems and sorrows and hardships that I had and will experience. My testimony of the Atonement at the moment became unshakable. Just like Jacob says in the Book of Mormon, when Sherem is trying to shake him from his faith, but he tells him that his faith was unshakable. And that’s how I felt. That Satan didn't have hold upon me anymore and that I could keep going. The Atonement literally enabled me to move forward. It was an incredibly liberating experience. So as I learned this I've studied a lot about the Atonement as well, and still I'm only scratching the surface. But the Atonement literally means "At one" with God. Our purpose in this life is to prepare to meet God, but to "meet" him at the same level He is at when we go back to him. The Atonement makes this possible. Because the Savior overcame physical death through the Resurrection and spiritual death through his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, we too through his Grace and Mercy can overcome anything that we are faced with. Throughout the course of my mission I have come to realize the REAL POWER OF THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST. It enables me and allows me to perfect, or in other words fulfill my potential to become like God. I know the Atonement is real. That Atonement helps me every day. It is incredible. Use the Atonement, humble yourselves and allow the power of his Grace to change you. I promise you that you will fulfill the potential that Heavenly Father has for you, and you will see the change in your life.
 I know that this truly is God's work and I'm grateful everyday that I get to be an instrument in His hands.
Love you
Sister Benjamin