Well this week just flew right on by..crazy. And now we only have 3 weeks left in this transfer. C-RAZY! Time flies when you are doing the Lords work!

Well Wednesday I had quite a powerful experience. I was studying in the BOM in Alma 24 about the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. And how much they loved the Lord that they would lay down their weapons of war and lose their lives for God.But the part that hit me the hardest was how the Lamanites could turn around and kill all those people, but then change and become converted. There is a verse that says "the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people." At that point I had this huge overwhelming feeling of God's love for his children. He never stops, he wants us to come back and he is going to give us every opportunity, short of forcing us to follow him. When he sends Missionaries to someone, he knows sometimes they will say no, and reject him. But he sends them anyway because he has SO MUCH LOVE for us. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me with that experience. It amazes me so much, to realize how much my Heavenly Father trusts me to be here to serve him and his children. Even with all my faults, stupidity and pridefulness and so on..., he trusts and loves me enough to allow me to do this. I tried to tell the zone Leaders about my experience when they came down for training, but i just started crying. I was so overwhelmed with the spirit and emotion. And this is why no doubt can sway me from my faith. I know my Heavenly Father is real. He loves all of us so much. The greatest conversion story that I will see on my mission, I'm sure will be my own. I have been stretched so far past my breaking point and I think literally had my heart broken, probably the lowest point in my life. But because of that I truly witnessed the healing power of the Atonement. I had a heavy weight in my heart everyday, that I thought would never go away, but because of my Savior's sacrifice for me, he lifted my burdens. He carried me and made me the person that I am today. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for the personal testimony that I have received of him on my mission. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that He lives. I know that he is the head of the Church and that he loves all of us so much, that he willingly gave EVERYTHING he had for us. I am forever changed by my time thus far on my mission. My life will never be the same. 

Of course things in this area aren't working out exactly like I planned, but I guess it really isn't up to me. I have made mistakes on my mission like every missionary does, and not everyone embraces the Gospel like I want them to. But I know as I do all I can, as I serve him with my might and strength but also with my heart and mind that his gospel will bless the lives of others. This is God's work and I am so glad that I get to take part in it. I'm not perfect, in fact no where near that, but I am going to do my best to overcome my lazy naturalmanness and get out there and go to work.

Thank you for all of your incredible examples to me. Thank you for all that you do!
Love you heaps! 
Sister Benjamin



Well goodness gracious. I can't believe it has been a whole week. If feels like just yesterday that I was here emailing you last. Time really truly does go by so fast. Time is a precious gift and we have really been trying to use our time wisely. Sometimes we aren't as effective, but we are always trying to improve. And I have noticed to that when I just get out there and do the work with EVERYTHING I have the time just flies by and I can't even believe it. :) I'm so glad I had the opportunity to come and serve a mission. It is everything I thought it would be and so much more. I have truly noticed how much of a change has happened in me. I am growing and learning and trying to improve and become the best that I can be and Heavenly Father continues to bless me. I'm so grateful to be able to have this consecrated time to serve my Heavenly Father for these short 18 months. It isn't a sacrifice at all, yes its hard but the blessings are too great. I wouldn't change this experience for the world. 

Well this week has been good. We met with one of the new investigators we got this week and he literally was so prepared to hear the message. We taught him basically all of the Restoration and the POS in 45 minutes because he just wanted to keep hearing more and learning more. He has a strong belief in God and he really is so prepared. He accepted a BOM and committed to pray about a Baptismal Date. And I felt so good after that. To see the light come into his eyes, it was truly amazing to watch. But after that we haven't had much contact with him, we saw him once and he was super busy and he didn't really want to talk to us. We don't know if he heard something about the Church or if Satan is just really working him. But hopefully he will still be interested. But if not I did my part, the spirit was there and the seed was planted. and I know that Heavenly Father is pleased as well.

We also have been working with another investigator. She has been taught by the Elders in Coffs Harbour which is about an hour away from Grafton, and she has been investigating the Church for months now. She hasn't really ever been to Church or anything like that. But we did a lot of service with her and we have had a lot of really great lessons. She has lost both of her parents and siblings recently and she is really sad, but we have taught her about the resurrection and she really wants to believe it which is incredible. She has such a desire to believe and we have told her that that is the first step to having the faith that she needs. We saw her Saturday and she really said she was too tired and that she couldn't come to church but then she called us Sunday morning and said she was coming. She came and she had a wonderful experience. It was so wonderful! I was so glad she came. She also had some concerns about tithing and we learned about that in Relief Society and she said that she believed it. Heavenly Father truly is preparing her. We saw her yesterday and encouraged her to pray to receive revelation if her baptism date is right for her and she said she would. She really is wonderful, and I hope she will be baptized but if not we are doing everything we can with her to help her succeed. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father trusts me enough to teach these people, even though I mess up sometimes and say the wrong things, he helps to bring the spirit and it still works out. Heavenly Father really does care about all of his children and he wants the best for them and I am so grateful I get to be a part of it.

Something I have really been trying to improve on is listening. Listening like the Savior did. I feel like I just dominate the conversation and I want to just share with them all my knowledge of the Gospel and show them how it can bless there life and blah blah blah...but if the spirit isn't there and i'm not trying to discern their needs and learn more about them the spirit isn't going to tell me what to say because I won't want to listen. So I have been trying really hard to improve on that. It certainly hasn't been easy but I know that Heavenly Father will help me to be better and improve. 

Also my first transfer ended this week. I've been in Aussie land for 6 whole weeks. Nutso! It feels so much shorter! Crazy. And I'm staying here in Grafton another transfer, and that means I'm staying in the North. The mission is splittling come July and because of that this transfer will only be 4 weeks because they want the 2 missions to be on different transfer routes. So I truly have to make the most of these 4 weeks because who knows how long I will be in Grafton. And that also means that my mission is cut short by 2 weeks, so I don't even have a full 15 months left. Crazy. The time is way too short. 

Well i know this Church is true. I learn so much every single day and there is no way the Church could not be true. I know that my Heavenly Father is real! He loves me and all of his Children. I know that my Savior is real that he lives and that he did suffered all my pains and griefs and all the mistakes I made and will make, so that I can change and become better each day. I know that the BOM is the word of God. There is no doubt in my mind. I read it every day and it blesses me so much! I'm so grateful to have a living prophet here on the earth today to lead and guide this church. I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Sister Benjamin


Miracles of Being a Missionary

This week has been AMAZING! I absolutely loved it. When Dad told me that you had fasted for and continue to pray for me I definitely felt that help. So Thank you :) I was so happy this week and so positive. Yesterday we had our Weekly Planning Session and my companion even said she noticed a real change in me. I feel like myself again. I feel happy and I find joy in the journey. And on Saturday I even had the thought that I don't want to go home.  I am beginning to understand why Missionaries always say they don't want to come home. They know true joy and happiness that we seek is found in the Gospel, in forgetting about ourselves and going out and serving others and helping Heavenly Father to build his kingdom on the earth. Of course that doesn't mean that I wouldn't love to see you all, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that you are all protected, and that you will be there when I come home. 
This week we drove down to Medowie which is about a 5.5 hour drive. We left on Monday night. We spent the night with the sisters there. My District Leader and his comp drove past us on the road, we stopped and they gave us a birthday cake. :) On Tuesday we went to Zone Conference. It was INCREDIBLE! I loved it! President and Sister Howes truly are incredible and so full of the spirit. We talked about becoming a person of zion. This helps us to be so obedient and so righteous that Heavenly Father would have no choice but to open the windows of Heaven and pour out his blessings upon us and this mission. The thing I love the most though is that P & S Howes were temple presidents before this mission. The apostles even told them how crazy that was because that never really happens. This mission is so blessed because of it. When P. Howes teaches he relates it to the temple and the blessings and promises we receive there. It has definitely made me appreciate the temple so much more! I am understanding it more and realizing how sacred and powerful the temple truly is. After Zone Conference I asked my district leader to give me a blessing. I was kind of scared I guess because I really haven't received a blessing from anyone other then Dad. But the coolest thing happened. As soon as I asked him, you literally could see the spirit coming to him and radiate out of him. It was amazing to watch. I could tell he was so worthy and ready to do so. As he gave me the blessing immediately I felt this huge overpowering feeling of Heavenly Father's love for me. I was so full of it that I started to cry. I knew in that moment without a doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father is real and that he loves me so much. I was blessed with so much and I know that I will be able to do whatever Heavenly Father asks of me because I know he is watching out for me and protecting me from harm. I am so grateful to have the Priesthood here on the earth, where worthy men can hold the Priesthood and act in God’s name. 
My Birthday was really good. Lionel and Kelli (a couple they are teaching) bought me a birthday cake and they sang to me. Bro.King also made me a cake which was wonderful. But the best part was that he told us that he had decided to quit smoking. He said that he was at the store and he was going to buy another pack but he saw my face in his mind and he didn't. I was so proud of him. Heavenly Father truly has been helping him
On Saturday the traveling sisters came. These are 2 sisters who go and do exchanges with all the sisters in the mission. Our goal with them was to find 2 new Investigators. But Heavenly Father had something else in mind and we found 6 new investigators and through finding, and tracting. It was incredible. Heavenly Father truly blessed us. It was a miracle.
Of course this week wasn't perfect, we still had the normal ups and downs of missionary work but through it all I had a smile on my face because I know that my heavenly Father loves me and that he is pleased with the work we are doing. I know the Church is true without a doubt in my mind. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Heavenly Father is in charge and he will do as he sees fit. 
I love this Gospel and I love being a missionary
Love you Heaps
Love Sister Benjamin


Weekly email from Grafton

First Kangaroo sighting.  She commented that it kind of freaked her out, especially when they almost hit one while driving in the "bush".

Well this week was so good! I really loved it! And just like Dad said in his letter good things always come right around the corner after the hard trial. 

On Monday night we went over to have a lesson with a potential investigator. She has lost both of her parents in the last 2 years, and so we taught her the Plan of Salvation. We went through the lesson and of course she had questions, but she said at the end that she believes it and that she knows that her parents are up there waiting for her to come back. We told her that if she wanted to get up there with her parents that she needed to do her part and she was so willing. We extended the invitation to be baptized, and she said she had been baptized in another Church. We told her that the proper priesthood is in this Church and she said she wants to get baptized. She still has along way to go but it will work out like its supposed too. Heavenly Father wants his children to get baptized, and I'm sure he will help us if we do everything in our power to help her. We have visited her again and she was having a lot of family problems and she said that she was so glad that we stopped by. It was a prompting that S. Nauta and I received that we needed to go see her. I'm hoping that she will get baptized soon and that she can come to Church and be blessed by all the Gospel has to offer. Please pray for her and her sister. Pray that their hearts will be softened and that they will want this for them and that they will be able to know of its truthfulness. 

We also have been visiting with a less active brother. He got baptized about 5 years ago, but he doesn't really come to Church. He has been smoking and can have quite a foul mouth sometimes. We immediately hit it off though, and he has a very similar sense of humor to me and we were just laughing with each other. But of course he knew why we were there so because of the spirit I was prompted to ask him about his smoking habit, and it completely opened the door and I was very bold and told him that his habit was disgusting and that he needed to quit. I was surprised with myself when those words came out of my mouth. Usually I'm the quiet one and the one not saying much, but we continued to talk, and I told him that He has a Heavenly Father and Savior who loves him and if he believes that he can quit that he can with their help. So he committed to try. We then went back a couple days later and he had started to try to quit. He said that sometimes when he would think about smoking he would have this major cough attack and that he wouldn't want to smoke. I told him that this was Heavenly Father helping him. But he said that it was still really hard, and that he didn't know if he could. So I used what Jordan did on his mission about having him read the BOM every time he wanted to smoke, so hopefully that will help as well. Then we talked about Alma 5 with all the questions, especially in verse 27 that talks about if you died right now would you be ready to stand before the Savior. And he said no, but I told him that is why he needs to make the changes necessary now, so that he can return to live with Heavenly Father. I was telling him that I cared about him and then I started crying, because an overwhelming feeling of God's love for him was pulsing through me and I told him that he can change because we care so much about him and Heavenly Father does as well, and if he loves the Savior and his Heavenly Father he will do this. Then Sunday came around and he wasn't at Church before we started but then about 10 minutes in, he came in. He came to Church when he hasn't been for years. I was so happy to see him. I had a huge grin on my face. He left right after Sacrament but It was one step in the right direction. I know he can do this and make the changes he needs too. Pray for him as well. 

Then we visited another LA and her husband. We had dinner with them and we watched the Restoration Video and we set the husband with a date for Baptism on June 29th. He said if he knew it was true and that if Kelli could give up smoking and be there with him ready that he would be baptized. We told Kelli that she could give up smoking that Heavenly Father knew she could do this. So she said she would try one last time. So pray for them. Pray for her that her desire for smoking will be taken away. They need all the help they can get. I know that they can do this. It really has been a good week. 

On Friday we went up to Coffs Harbour and had Zone Training Meeting. We had it with all the other missionaries then we had P-day with them. It was really fun and good to actually see other missionaries because we are all so far apart that this is the only time we see each other. One of my favorite things we talked about is how when we tell people we are going to this zone they say oh you are just being exiled. Because in this zone my district leaders area is 5 hours away from me and the ZLs are an hour away and the other 4 elders are 2 and 3 hours away, we have District meeting each week on the phone. It is quite interesting but good. But we talked about how some missionaries need the constant being with other missionaries, but when you are sent out here all you have is your companion and your Heavenly Father. Heavenly Father trusts us to be out here and he knows that we can handle it. We learn to rely on him even more and I think that is going to benefit me so much in my mission later on and later on in life. It certainly isn't easy being a missionary, but I know that I'm blessed because of it. Tonight we are driving up to Newcastle to have Zone Conference, and we are going to have to drive 5 hours tonight, then stay all day Tuesday and then drive back Wednesday Morning. It is crazy but it will be good. I'm excited. It's exciting to be a missionary :)

Well I know that this Church is true. I know that my Heavenly Father is real and that he will bless me to do his work. I know that this is what I'm supposed to be doing and that I can do anything with the Lord's help. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior. I don't know as much as I would like, but I have been studying Jesus the Christ pretty much every day which is so good :) I love reading about his life and his incredible example. I love my Savior and I love this Gospel. I know that the BOM is the word of God.
I love you all I hope you have a wonderful week!
Love Sister Benjamin