Last letter from the South

Hey Ya'll!
Well this week was literally nuts. Tuesday we went and visited with an investigator. She is going through a lot of really hard things in life. But she told me that she really feels comfortable around me, and she wishes that I would stay. I said that I did too, but I have to go to Aussie. But she said she would always remember me. I really think she has great potential to be baptized. Then that night we went over to the Bishop’s house for dinner. It was so crazy but so much fun. The Elders and us were there and we had a great time. We stayed there for like 3 hours, but that is basically what happens every night in the South.

On Wednesday we had District Meeting and all 5 of us, Elders and Sisters basically just had a heart to heart. We talked about how much we are going to miss each other when I leave. I really didn't expect to love the people here so much. I came here and it was so hard, but once you love the people and they love you back, you really just don't want to leave.  That is exactly how I feel. I really just don't want to leave. There are so many people that I absolutely adore. On Thursday we went out to Lunch at one of the member’s Chinese restaurant. It was delicious. And the Elders made me cupcakes and gave me a hilarious card. :) I have so many wonderful memories from being here. That night my companion and I ate a whole half gallon of ice cream all by ourselves. :) It was cookie dough and Bluebell brand. Which literally is the best ice cream I have ever had. You know me and my weakness when it comes to anything sugar. :)

On Friday we weekly planned and I got all my stuff packed. Then my favorite person probably in West Monroe, drove us up to the Mission office for the Aussie sisters farewell dinner. She found out I was leaving and she wouldn't let me get up there any other way. So we had a nice dinner that night and one of the Senior Missionaries told us a story about a man he knew when he was younger who is a direct descendant of Joseph Smith. And that his mission in life was to find the other direct descendents and apparently 1/3 of them are in Australia! So he told us that we have to go and find them :) I would love that. That would be wonderful! :) After the dinner we said goodbye and I just cried when I said goodbye to my companions and the member that drove us up. It was so hard. I really hope I see them again, but who knows what they will be doing in 16 months from now.

I went after that and spent the next 2 days in Clinton with the sisters there. On Saturday we went to a baptism of 2 little 8 year old twins. They were absolutely adorable. Then we went and visited a bunch of members, the ones they said that I had to experience. All of us really just hit it off. We sang for a couple of ladies in the ward and I loved it. We sang hymns for them and the spirit was so strong, I couldn't believe it :) We went to see one Member Saturday night. She lives in Jackson and she has 7 kids and she has like 30 grandchildren and they all live at her house. She has a really hard shell and she doesn't just automatically love people, and apparently she hasn't been to Church for a while. But she came on Sunday and I was so happy to see her. On Sunday we went to Church and as it was fast Sunday, I was fasting that I would be able to learn how to better act on spiritual promptings. And then the whole lesson in Relief Society was about spiritual guidance. It was amazing to me how quickly Heavenly Father put in my path exactly what I needed to hear. After we went to visit a member in a rest home. He had an accident and it messed up his physical abilities, so he basically only his brain is still functioning. So they go and sing songs to him every Sunday. We sang hymns for him. I love music and the power that it brings :)

After church we went to a members home and had tacos to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. :) It was way fun. Then we went to the Church and had a Bible Study Class. The sisters here have been teaching a lady in Clinton for about 15 weeks and I guess she got really put off one week when she visited church, and she thought we just worshipped Joseph Smith so she didn't really want to read the BOM. So she said she would come to our Bible Study class. They don't have one here but we set one up for Sunday. So we went to the Church and we had 2 members with us who are converts to the Church. We studied and we related the Bible to the BOM and we read Moroni 10 with the investigator. It was a really powerful experience. I felt prompted to share with her my testimony of the Savior. I have always struggled with my testimony of the Savior and I didn't feel like sharing it, but as I did, the spirit flooded my whole body. I told her that Jesus Christ is on my name tag and I represent him. Yes I love Joseph Smith and what he did for us, but I represent Jesus Christ. I am saying and doing the things he would be doing if he were here, or at least that is what I am trying to do. I told her that he lives and that he loves us and that he wants her to come into the fold. It really was so powerful. I didn't even know I had that kind of power to bear testimony. But I have learned that when you don't try to think what you’re going to say, but when you just start testifying and you have the right intentions, the spirit will put words in your mouth that will be exactly what needs to be said. It is experiences like that that makes me glad to be a missionary. :) After, we had dinner at a members home and we talked and she is from Utah and she went to Viewmont. Crazy :) But she was really awesome. Then after, we went back home and other sisters came and slept at our apartment. There were 7 of us. It was so fun. :)

Needless to say I had a crazy but fun week. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to come and serve in the MJM. It literally has been one of the best experiences of my life. It certainly was not easy. I really struggled when I first got here, but because of Heavenly Father and his kindness to me, he helped me through that trial. Because of that I am an even better person then I was before. I absolutely love the South and the people here, even though I never thought I would say this, I really am sad to leave. I can't believe that I am really going to Aussie today. I really hope it will be just as good or better then my experience here. I have learned so much about me, and grown in ways I didn't even know I needed to, or even could. I love the Gospel. I love being a missionary and I absolutely love the opportunity that I have to be able to share my testimony with others. I hope that I bring some into the fold of God while I'm out here. I might not see it happen on my mission, but I know that the people I meet will eventually come into the fold. I know that this Church is true with all of my heart. I know that the BOM is the word of God. Joseph Smith is  a prophet, and he did bring the gospel back here on the earth, but only through Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's help. I know that President Monson is our Prophet here on the earth today. I know that Jesus Christ lives. He is my Savior, Redeemer and Friend. He sacrificed his life for me out of love for me and he is the reason that I am serving a mission. Christ is who leads this Church today and his way is what provides true happiness. I am so grateful that he gave us the perfect example to follow here on the earth. I love this Gospel. I love being a missionary, even though it is hard sometimes. I am so glad to go to Aussie and I hope that I can be even better there then I was here. :)
I love you all. You are all incredible examples to me.
I hope you have a great week. :)
Sis. Benjamin :)

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