First Baptism!

Dear Family :)
This week has literally been AMAZING! My goodness. I just love being a missionary. We had a great lesson with Alecia and she committed to being baptized on the 28th of September. So we went over the questions with her and she knew it all. She was ready. So this week we got everything ready. It certainly was a lot more stressful then I thought it would be. Alecia was great all week though. She kept asking us if there was anything else she should study to prepare herself. I love those kind of questions. She had her baptismal interview on Thursday....she then got BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY! It was wonderful! She was so nervous the whole time, but she was great. She was just amazing. She was truly so prepared. Then on Sunday she was confirmed. It was such a sweet experience to watch someone from the start go through the process and get baptized. She was again really nervous, but she said when they laid their hands on her head and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost she felt immense peace, and just this great feeling coarse through her body. She told us that she had always believed what we believed, but she just could never find the place that gave her all of it. She said the closest thing she found was the pentecostal church, but after hearing about this Church, it was EVERYTHING she needed, and wanted for her and her kids. Ah! Don't you just love the Gospel?! I love Alecia and I'm so glad I got to witness this great miracle. I love being here in Emu Plains. I just love being a missionary.


This whole week was just an incredibly spirit filled week. Friday we had an amazing zone conference. The spirit was just so amazingly strong. We had role plays, and I think that is the strongest spirit I have ever felt during a role play. It was great. :) The Assistants trained us on Hope and having a positive attitude. We watched the video "A Mother's Hope" about President Uchtdorf and his family. It was really inspiring the power that hope can have on us. If you get the chance, listen to that talk "The Infinite power of Hope." It is really quite inspiring. And when we have hope it pushes us to act and achieve greatness instead of just waiting for something to happen. We talked a lot about having a positive attitude as well. And we really should have a positive attitude because we are doing the Lord's work. Its great. :) 


Sister Howes then gave a great training on a talk by Elder John H. Groberg, who some of us know as "Kolipoki." This talk is called "The Power of God's Love." It’s the talk that the movie "The Other Side of Heaven" is based from. It was an AMAZING talk. Just to give a few quotes.
" All love emanates from God, we are born with the capacity and the desire to love and be loved.....only as we feel God's love and fill our hearts with His love can we be truly happy."
"Trying to find lasting love without obeying God is like trying to quench thirst by drinking from an empty cup."
"When we understand who God is, who we are, how He loves us, and what His plan is for us, fear evaporates. When we get the tiniest glimpse of these truths, our concern over worldly things vanishes. To Think we actually fall for Satan's lies that power, fame or wealth is important is truly laughable - or it would be were it not so sad."
"Being Filled with God's love is the most joyous of all things and is worth every cost."
And my personal favorite...
"When filled with God's love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with his love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us."
I love this talk. It is amazing. I can testify to that God's love is real! President Howes then gave a great training about the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. I have never understood that before and how it could actually relate to women as well.
But something that really stood out to me is what he said at the end. That we can't jeopardize our future potential for immediate gratification. How can I risk the opportunity to create worlds, for a small rule broken in the WHB. I need to be better. I love that we receive all the blessings of the priesthood when we are sealed in the temple. I have always said throughout my life that I want to marry a righteous Priesthood holder, one who will be worthy to take me to the temple. I always have said I want to marry a returned missionary, but one that was a good and faithful, and obedient missionary. And I have come to realize over the course of my life that I can't do that unless I am worthy. Unless I am righteous enough to gain the blessings of the Priesthood, if I am worthy enough to go to the temple with him, and come home as a righteous, faithful and obedient missionary. 


Another really cool experience of the week. We had an Area 70 come to our ward council on Sunday. At the end he was talking about missionary work. He said the wave was bigger then the Church had expected. He said it won't be long before we have 4 missionaries in every ward. How cool is that! Every time people talk about missionary work I just get the chills. I Love it! After the meeting, he came over and told us, "In behalf of President Monson, I'm here to tell you sisters that He is pleased with your work." This wonderful spirit just filled me up and it literally felt like President Monson had said that to me. Testimony builder for sure. 


Then just to top this amazing week off, the ward is excited about missionary work. The 5th Sunday meeting was all about the Hastening the Work of Salvation Broadcast. But what I loved the most is what the Bishop said. He talked about his children and how when they had left on their missions, he wanted them to go to a great ward. One that would take care of them and do great missionary work. He talked about our families at home and how he knows that they would want the same thing. He said so lets do this work and let the missionaries help us. We should be doing this because we would want the wards and branches taking care of our children to do the same.
I just love this ward. I love being on a mission at this time. I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be , right now. I'm so grateful for this Gospel and the opportunity that I have to Share it with others. You never truly know how much you love the Gospel until you sacrifice for it.
Hope you have a great week
Love you heaps
Sister Benjamin


The True Wonder of the Gospel

 Dear Family,
I truly don't think I have ever appreciated the Gospel as much as I do now. I know I say this all the time, but its true. I wish I wouldn't have taken it for granted before. But live and let learn right? So I would ask each of you to learn from my mistakes and relish in the good news of the Gospel. Relish in the power of the priesthood, the restoration of the Gospel, the Living Prophet, the Temples all around the world, and the amazing and infinite power of the Atonement. There truly is no greater gift to us on this earth, then the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This week was wonderful. WE had a another incredible week with Alecia. I love actually seeing someone progress in the Gospel. It’s truly amazing to watch. We had a great lesson with her on Monday. We went over the Restoration and then we talked about praying to know it’s true and she said she doesn't need to pray, because she already knows its true. :) Oh my life! AMAZING. We had a Relief Society Activity on Thursday and she didn't think she would be able to come, but she rearranged her schedule and she came. Then we had stake conference this weekend (which by the way was amazing) and she was worried about her children behaving. But we sat up in the front with her, and her children did beautifully. Much better then the family did when we were younger. Ha :) They just sat so quietly and it was great. Then to just add some icing to the cake, she asked us about Baptism and when. We had said originally the 28th but if that was to soon then we could push it back and she said that should be alright! Are you serious?! :) Oh my life. So we are going to go over after this and talk about it. It truly has been incredible. The angels and Heavenly Father truly have prepared her for this and I'm just grateful that I get to witness it. :)

Another wonderful experience of the week....I GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE! Oh my goodnight! I love the temple. The temple in Sydney is right on this huge busy road and its so noisy and crazy busy. But then you walk into the temple and you just feel this amazing sense of peace. I LOVE IT! We did a session and the spirit was just burning in my chest the whole time. It was amazing. But you know the worst part, is having to come back out afterwards, into the crazy busy world. But I thought of at that moment, that it has got to be like that in Heaven all the time, but the best part is, you won't have to leave! Go to the temple as often as you can. We have no excuse. It’s AMAZING!

Another wonderful experience was Stake Conference. The Saturday night session especially. Oh my life! Everything they talked about is EXACTLY what I needed to hear. The stake President spoke and basically everything he said went hand in hand, and some exact wording, to my patriarchal blessing. How cool is that? It was one of the sweetest experiences ever. I love the meetings we attend on the mission. They are probably my favourite thing.

"And Faith, Hope, Charity and love with an eye single to the glory of God qualify him for the work." These past 2 weeks have been all about these three attributes of Christ. And I think it’s because I need to develop these attributes more, and then in turn help the people here to have that as well. The article in the Ensign this month about Hope is wonderful. Read it! :) But my favourite quote from it is this: "Hope is the anchor for the soul, the sail for our dreams, and the balm for our pains. It is the one-size solution that fits all." Watching someone else truly develop the true hope the Gospel brings is an incredible experience. And that would have to be my best practice as teaching like Jesus did. But with Him those just were His attributes, so as I strive to develop them and help others, we in turn become more like him.

One last experience, talk about consecration.... I can't believe I did this, but when you are "moved upon by the Holy Ghost" it’s like you can't not follow it. We knocked on this door, trying to find someone in the ward. But an older man answered. He’s atheist and he basically told us that we weren't facing reality doing this sort of thing. We said our good byes and started driving away when I get this thought, go back and offer him a Book Of Mormon. Admit: I felt way to scared. I kept thinking he doesn't want anything to do with us. I told my companion this and she automatically said, its a prompting lets go. So we did. Knocked on the door again. Needless to say he wasn't pleased to see us. And he wouldn't take the Book of Mormon, but I told him I felt prompted that I needed to share my testimony. So I did and we left. I think his whole goal was to get us discouraged and to back off, but I wasn't going to back down from my testimony. I wished him a nice evening though, and he seemed very surprised that we were still happy. But I've come to realize that sharing the Gospel does make me happy, no matter what people say to me, or do to me. This is what I believe in and so I can't not share it when I need to.

I know this Church is true with all of my heart. I know that this is God's work and that its only possible through Him.
I hope you have a wonderful week.
Love you
Sister Benjamin

Blue-tongued lizard-Lexie said she wouldn't hold it because they told her they bite.  Surprised she even touched it.:)


6 months!

Mi Familia
Man I can't believe I have been out for 6 months. That is crazy! Times has literally gone by so fast. I really feel like yesterday I was entering the MTC. It truly is AMAZING how much I have changed in these last 6 months. I have learned more about myself and the Gospel then probably ever before. My spiritual muscles have been stretched so much farther then ever before, and let me tell ya, it certainly has NOT been easy. But you know the Greatest part, it has all been worth it. When I look back on these 6 months, I don't find myself saying, man I wish I could have been better, stronger, worked harder, etc. I look back and all I see are the miracles in my own life and in everyone else's. This mission, this time has been absolutely essential to my life and I wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING. In my personal opinion, I think every girl who has a desire to serve, most definitely should, and every other girl as well. I would recommend it to everyone. And I know it’s scary. I was absolutely petrified. I didn't want to leave the MTC, I was so scared. But you know what helps? The fact that we have a LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER, a SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, and the HOLY GHOST (our comforter). They KNOW me and all of you. They have helped me so much, and I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for them. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL SO MUCH. It has literally changed my life for the better. My testimony has NEVER been stronger. I often find myself marveling over this AMAZING GIFT that we have been given. And to me there’s no question. There is no question of whether I believe it or not, the only questions I have now are, what more can I do? What more can I learn? Ahh...its amazing.

And what’s truly AMAZING is watching the Gospel change others lives. We had an incredible lesson with our investigator. She literally has been so prepared to hear the message of the Gospel. She came to Church yesterday with her family and they all loved it. Then we just got back from teaching her again. We had a member with us and the spirit was there. We were committing her to pray to know it’s true, and she said she doesn't need too, she already knows! Oh my goodness it was great. And I guess yesterday her daughters came home, the 8 year old at least, saying that she is a child of God and that she is going to get baptized. I was basically beaming from ear to ear. :) I love it. My testimony is strengthened even more when others are strengthened by the Gospel.
This week charity has been a huge theme. In District Meeting, we discussed charity and how we can develop more charity. We looked at a lot of examples of the Savior. And one I found is a talk by Brad Wilcox, "His Grace is Sufficient." Christ’s grace is sufficient for us all and that comes from his pure love for us all. Something I've learned quite powerfully is that we are forever in our Savior’s, and Heavenly Father’s debt. And some think we can repay him, but it is impossible. When we try to repay him, he just blesses us again, so we end up even more in his debt. Brad Wilcox said, "You have plenty to do, but it is not to pay the debt. We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God's presence to be judged. What is left to be determined by our obedience is how comfortable we plan to be in God's presence and what degree of glory we plan on receiving." WOW. He goes on to say, "By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice- not even the smallest part. Instead we are showing appreciation for what Jesus Christ did by using it to live a like like His." WOW! Through Christ's pure love for us, he laid down his life, suffered bled and died for us. Then three days later, death was overcome in the Glorious resurrection. So to show our appreciation for Him, we live His Gospel, but more WE SHARE IT. As Elder Nelson said, our duty is to prepare the people here to receive the Savior when he comes again. And I can promise that when you look at people like the Savior does, you will want to share the Gospel with them. I have had that happen to me so many times now, when you look at someone as the Savior does, you get to see them for who they truly are and what they can become. I love it :)

The Gospel is AMAZING, and its even better when the members get involved and bring people in. When Alecia came to Church everyone was talking to her and making her feel welcome. They were so wonderful. I love this ward. I love that they are following the counsel of the prophet and developing a ward mission plan. I love the people here. I love the Gospel and I'm so grateful to have it in my life. 
Love you! 
Sister Benjamin


Faith Precedes Miracles

This week certainly has been incredible. I truly have not loved being a missionary as much as I do now. Heavenly Father has blessed my companion and I with SO MANY MIRACLES. To start with I have had a great love for the work. I was looking through some of my mission photos earlier this week, and I just felt this feeling of love for my mission. I felt so grateful for Heavenly Father prompting me to come and serve. I couldn't have asked for a better time, or thing for me to be doing right now. Heavenly Father knew I needed this so badly, so I'm glad that I was able to accept the call to serve here in Australia.

Another wonderful miracle, is the fact that I am talking to everyone. And let me tell ya, I never used to do that. I would be way to scared to talk to people, but now I really am just trying to speak to everyone that I can. It is amazing the true power that comes from doing that. I love too what Elder Callister says about opening our mouths, its not that our mission president commands us too, or that the Church does, but the Savior does. He opened his mouth and talked to everyone and we can and should be doing the same. Something I have really come to appreciate on my mission is being able to look at people and see them as God sees them. I have really come to be able to see them as a child of GOD. Not just some other person. They are here on the earth just like me, and have the same purpose as me. And not everyone knows that so that is why I'm here. :) They are my brothers and sisters and they deserve the Gospel just as much as I do.

But the greatest miracle that we saw this week was Heavenly Father blessings us with meeting Alecia. Oh my life! She’s amazing. We had been praying and really trying to work hard this week to find new investigators. And so we were doing heaps of finding and just talking to everyone, and really didn't seem to be having much success. And the sad part is that I found my faith seeming to weaken because of it. But them I remembered a talk my sister had sent me by one of the 70, titled "But If Not." This talks all about having faith in Heavenly Father and relying on him to help us overcome trials and hardships in our lives. But most of the time it doesn't work out the way we want it too, but we still have faith in him anyways, because we know that he will only give us what is best for us. So I had the thought come to my mind, I know Heavenly Father can and will bless us with investigators, if we go out and do everything we can, but IF not at this time, then we will still have faith and work hard because we know it will come in the right time. So I really tried to continue having faith, and guess what happened? We literally had an investigator fall right onto our laps. One of the less actives in the area told her about the Church and she wanted to come along and check it out, so they came together. And he didn't know much, but from what he told her she wanted to come. So we were sitting in Relief Society and the Bishop's wife comes and gets us and tells us that there is a lady here who is investigating the Church and she wants to meet you. So of course we like run out there and we meet her. She literally is so prepared. Oh my goodnight! She told us a lot about herself and the hard things that have happened to her in her life, but she said she is still okay because of her faith. She still can keep going because of her belief in God. I was doing all I could to not shout for joy! haha :) Then she said that she had been reading the BOM with her kids already, she had already introduced them to it. And then she said that she had researched it online. And immediately I had a red flag go off, but then she said all the good things she found, like the Church’s website and all this stuff. It literally was incredible. She is so prepared. She has 3 little girls and she is planning on coming to church next week as well. She also wants to meet with us, so we are seeing her later today. After we left Church, I was so happy, and so happy that I almost wanted to cry. :) I was so grateful that Heavenly Father allowed us to meet her. I literally was so amazed that he answered my prayer so quickly and completely not in the way I expected, but it was the perfect way for it to happen. I absolutely love that. :) I'm so grateful to have a Heavenly Father watching out for us, guiding us and leading us to those who are prepared. It’s just like in Moroni 7: 29 "And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men." It was amazing. I literally love being a missionary. I love seeing the Gospel change lives, and I love that God is still preparing the hearts of people to receive our message.

Something I really tried to do this week as I was teaching was to testify. And something I tried to do even when we are finding. Because I feel like we meet lots of people all day long every day, and some of them have never met missionaries before. So it is a perfect opportunity for me to share my testimony. And most of the time they still aren't interested after that, but at least I did what I was supposed to do. I don't want to come home at the end of the day saying, I wish I would have spoken to that person, or I wish I would have said this. I want to be able to testify on the doorstep so there is no question that I know its true. I'm grateful for the example of the Savior in that manner. He always testified, he always taught with power and conviction so there never was a question that he believed what he taught.

I truly love this work. I can't believe that I am able to come and experience the wonderful gift of being a missionary. You literally are on the front lines of the Church trying to bring as many  people as possible up the mountain into the rest of the Lord. I love it so much. And I'm not perfect and not everyone is interested, but if nothing else, my life has been completely changed because of it. And something I've learned greatly is that you never really appreciate the Gospel as much as you could unless you sacrifice for it. I have been trying to give everything I can to the Gospel and to my time serving, and I have never felt more love and appreciation for the Gospel in my life. I know that this Church is true with all of my heart. I love this work!
I love you all Heaps and Heaps
Have a wonderful week.
Sister Benjamin


The Best Week Ever!

Oh my lanta!
Can I just say, this literally was the best week on the mission so far. I loved it. :) It started off wonderfully in the city. I loved every second of it there. We worked so hard and I have never walked so much on the mission, so my legs were a little sore this week. But it was no problem compared to the blessings we saw. We taught heaps, and we taught 3 first lessons with people in the city when I was there. They were so incredibly prepared. They were so willing to accept the Gospel in their life, and so willing to change so that they could fulfill the potential that they have. It really strengthened my testimony that God really is preparing more people to hear the Gospel. On a funnier note, we were teaching one of them and he is from Korea. We were talking about the feelings that the Holy Ghost gives us, and we talked about how it gives us feelings of love. And he was like so the times when I see beautiful girls on the street for 3 seconds and I'm instantly in love with them? Haha :) We laughed pretty hard at that one, which really broke the ice and helped him to come closer to the spirit. It was a wonderful lesson, and he is preparing for Baptism in October. I loved working with S. Mckinnon too. She is AMAZING. I learned so much from her and I was only with her for 3 days. I learned so much better how to work hard and how to work effectively. I really learned how to teach simply because there is a language barrier because you teach heaps of Asians in the city. But it was incredible. I really hope I get the chance to serve there. We then went to the Mission Home on Wednesday to pick up our new missionaries. Can I just say that I was so nervous. I had never trained before. I felt like I was just trained, there was no way that I could do it. But then I remembered the blessing I got last week that promised that I would be able to have full confidence in Heavenly Father. So once I remembered that this huge feeling of peace came over me. I felt so overwhelmed, and I was so excited to get a new missionary instead of freaking out like before....:)
Harbour Bridge
More Sydney

Hyde Park
So my new companion is from Texas and she is fresh from the MTC. But she is INCREDIBLE. She is amazing and we get along so well. I mean she loves Harry Potter and Musicals and laughing and we just get along so well. I love her to pieces and I have only known her for less then a week. We went through training with President and Sister Howes. IT was wonderful. And it was certainly much better the second time because I was actually awake the whole time to hear all of it. hahahaha :) We then went out to EMU PLAINS. Which is in the Penrith zone which really is about 30 minutes from the Mission Office which is awesome. And can I just tell you, I absolutely love it here. We are in an AMAZING ward. They are so ready to do missionary work. We met with the Bishop the first night and he went through their whole plan. He said we are just doing what the prophet asked. And I loved that. He is so excited about it too, which in turn made us really excited. We then met with the Ward Mission Leader and he is SO EXCITED to do missionary work. He was so excited when he found out they were getting sisters too, which is awesome because I mean who wouldn't be excited about having sister missionaries. And I guess the whole ward freaked out when they found out they were getting sisters, which is awesome. I love them all already. It was fast and testimony meeting on Sunday and the Ward Mission Leader bore his testimony and he started talking about us and he got emotional and talked about how wonderful of a spirit we have about us. It was so great. I felt the spirit so strongly at the point that we are called to serve here in EMU PLAINS at this time. :) I love how Heavenly Father is truly in all the details of our lives.

And we have seen miracle after miracle in the 3 days we have been here. We met with a Less Active on Saturday who apparently has never been to Church in Emu Plains and we taught her a lesson on Saturday and committed her to come to Church and guess what she came on Sunday! Oh my good night it was incredible. She stayed the whole time and participated in our lesson about Heavenly Father. She said she really enjoyed Church and I was so grateful. The ward was really welcoming to her as well. Also on Saturday we met with a family. Parents are less Active and the kids haven't been baptized yet. And apparently it is so hard to catch them home. But I felt strongly that we needed to go see them so we did. We went and they were all home. MIRACLE! Then we taught them a lesson and committed them to come to Church. And drum roll please....they were all there on Sunday! Even the son’s girlfriend who I guess hasn't even been investigating the Church.
I tell you what! I love EMU PLAINS. The members here are incredible we have met wonderful people and they are so excited about missionary work. One even told us that if we ever want Referrals to just come on over.
I love being here. I love my Companion and I love being a missionary.
I'm so grateful to see Heavenly Father’s hand in the work. He truly has blessed me so much on my mission. I love working here and I cannot wait to see what else Heavenly Father has in store for us.
I love you all. Thank you for being incredible examples to me and loving me and supporting me.
Love you Heaps
Sister Benjamin
Zone Leader/photo bomber
Blue Mountains with the Penrith Zone
Three Sisters