This week was quite the emotional rollercoaster, but it was exactly what needed to happen. Heavenly Father was so aware of me this week. Not that he isn't other times, but I guess I just noticed it a lot more this week. Something I've learned my whole life, but especially on my mission, is that trials and adversities are necessary for our aided spiritual growth. Heavenly Father sent us here to become like him to literally learn to meet him at the level he is at, when we get back to him. I love the story of Michelangelo with the statue of David. He talks about how he could see David and what he could become even when he just had the huge block of marble. He talks about how he just carved away all the marble to release David to his full potential. I think Heavenly Father is the same way. Like it says in the scriptures, we are all just lumps of clay, here to perform our labors. And just as Michelangelo chipped away the chunks of marble to release David, Heavenly Father does the same for us. And this week a HUGE chunk of marble was chipped away from me this week. Through out the whole process, I learned A TON that has helped me so much. There was so many things placed in my path this week, that all combined, taught me how much Heavenly Father really does care about us.
-The first is that I finished the Book of Mormon this week. I believe it was no coincidence that I finished it this week. I acted on Moroni's promise at the end of the BOM and I asked God if the BOM was true, and once again I received a witness that it is true.
-The second is we had a Preach My Gospel Study with the Zone Leaders on Friday. We talked about the BOM and scriptures from the BOM that really helped us on our missions and our testimonies of the BOM. The spirit was so strong. I really needed that time to share my testimony. If we don't share our testimonies we lose them and I certainly did not want that. But what we talked about next was what I needed. We talked about 3 stages of missionary work.
We have to get out and find people to teach and weed out the ones who aren't interested at this time. We have to plant the seeds of faith in good soil. Then we get to harvest them into the waters of Baptism. Each stage is just as important as the other. And no matter what stage the work I am doing is in, it is important to my Heavenly Father. I need to be finding the joy in the small everyday miracles that occur instead of the big things that don't happen without lots of small steps of faith.
-The Third was Church yesterday. Never in all my life have I grown so much from going to Church then I have on my mission. It’s probably because I changed my attitude and learned that Church is vital to my Salvation. It’s where we go to renew our covenants with Heavenly Father and with out that we cannot be fully clean. District Speakers came, President and Sister Owen, and they talked a lot about trials and overcoming them. She told the story about Pres. Eyring’s Dad who weeded for a job. But his hips were in such bad shape that he was pulling himself along on his elbows. At the end of the day he went up, and they told him he had been picking the wrong weeds. That they had sprayed those and they would die soon anyway. And Brother Eyring just started laughing. Pres. Eyring asked him why are you laughing? You just spent a hard days work for nothing. And he said "we didn't come for the weeds, we came for the Savior." She then talked about that no matter what happens we cannot give up. We have to continue striving. What if we just needed that one more prayer, or that one more step of faith to receive the help that we needed. I then taught the Gospel Doctrine lesson and we talked about Joseph Smith’s experience in Liberty Jail and how he gained the help and strength he needed. I then bore testimony of the Savior, the spirit was so strong. I felt like my heart was going to burst. I'm so grateful for the Savior, for his willingness to choose the path He trod. One of my favorite quotes is from Pres Eyring: "It will comfort us when we must wait in distress for the Savior's promised relief that he knows, from experience, how to heal and help us...And faith in that power will give us patience as we pray and work and wait for help. He could have known how to succour us simply by revelation, but he chose to learn by his own personal experience."
So throughout this whole process I learned that I didn't come for the weeds, I came for the Savior. I didn't come on my mission or even to the earth to suffer trials and the "weeds" of life. I came to experience trials so that I could learn about my Savior’s great and eternal sacrifice. I came to develop God-like qualities that will help me become like God. And the best way to learn that is through adversity. It certainly isn't easy, but we wouldn't learn any other way. I now know that My Savior lives, that he does know me perfectly and he can heal my broken heart. My setting apart blessing talks about me being able to know that Jesus is the Christ and I can tell you that I definitely know that now, more then I ever have before. So a new theme I chose to have for the Rest of My Mission is the words to Savior Redeemer of My Soul
1. Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow’r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.
2. Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.
3. O’errule mine acts to serve thine ends.
Change frowning foes to smiling friends.
Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.
Through out the process of the mission we try our best to become like the Savior and be transformational teachers. And my best practice this week was seeking for the spirit above all else. We met with a Less Active and we were teaching about the BOM and committing him to read and pray to know it’s true. I really wanted to give a promised blessing that would really help him. I was sitting there and the thought came to my mind, promise him added peace and comfort every time he reads the BOM. So I did and I certainly Felt the spirit testify to me and then I testified of the BOM. I love when the spirit directs the very words that come out of my mouth.
Something else I've really been trying to work on is having a positive attitude and that for me has not been an easy task. I think I just want the big miracles, that I completely by pass all the small miracles that happen every day. I need to focus on the small miracles, because if my joy only comes because of the big things, then I'm not going to be very happy all the time. The true joy comes from serving the Lord, so I'm trying to improve my attitude and make sure that I show Heavenly Father that I do love the sacred trust that he has placed with in me.
I love you Heaps! Thank you for your incredible example to me.
Love you Heaps
Sister Alexis Benjamin