What a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Dear Family,
Well another transfer has come and gone, and my companion and I are still in Emu Plains! :) Woot! I'm really excited about that. The members here are amazing, and they are exactly what I need right now. But of course Heavenly Father knows that and he kept me here. I feel like the time is just flying by. At the beginning of my mission, I had some struggles and time just seemed to crawl. It seemed to be taking ages. But now all of the sudden I blink and an entire 6 weeks are gone. My goodness. C-R-A-Z-Y. But I am so grateful to come and serve my Heavenly Father. I can't imagine my life any other way. I have never felt this spiritually uplifted before. I have never known this much about the Gospel and I love it. I consider it truly a gift to be able to serve the Master. It hasn't been an easy gift to have. I probably wouldn't have opened it had I known what would happen. But then again I look at this situation like pre earth life. Heavenly Father told us and probably even showed us what would happen. But we saw that the blessings far out weighed the price. I feel like that is how my mission is. It’s rather difficult, but the blessings and miracles far out weigh any price I pay to get there.

My core experience with God this week was Heavenly Father allowing me to see how much I have changed and improved. But the part I have really appreciated is how Heavenly Father is showing me little by little a vision of what I can become. I have been praying really fervently this week to be able to see that. It is amazing how he really does answer my prayers. My companion and I had a really interesting experience this week talking about Priesthood blessings and how we have both seen major things being fulfilled. Which is really cool. And so I went through my Patriarchal blessing and have been going through each point of it, and really seeing what I need to do to become what God wants me to become. It has been a major revelatory experience. I have learned so much about me and my future family and a whole host of other things. It is just really great :)

This week in my practice to become more like the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, I studied Joseph Smith History. I just felt like I needed to and that was what I needed. I studied the path that he took to receive the revelation that he needed to restore the Church on the Earth today. It was amazing to see the pattern of faith. From the very beginning he believed he would receive an answer. He never doubted, and even when Satan was trying to overtake him, he just prayed harder. And I loved what he said in vs 20 "It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me?" Then that led me to think about the Savior and how badly he was tempted by Satan. I would strongly encourage you to read Jesus the Christ, the section that talks about that and how He overcame the Devil. [Chap 10, pg-127-135] It completely changed my perspective. And I had a similar experience this week. I was telling my companion how hard Satan really works on me and how HARD he really tries to pull me down and stop me from doing this work. And I realized that I really never have a free moment from Satan. Every time I have a good thought there always seems to be a bad thought 2 seconds behind. But I got a blessing and I was told that Heavenly Father understood me and the challenges that I face. But that He knows the true desires of my heart. He doesn't look on my moments of weakness when I succumb, but on my true desires which really is to return to live with him again. He helps me through it. He never leaves me alone. Heavenly Father NEVER EVER leaves us alone. We just sometimes feel that way because we move from him. I'm so grateful that even though I am weak and I make mistakes that there is still ALWAYS the opportunity to improve and become better. It is always a constant battle. But it has already been won. Satan's fate is decided. He has already lost and he knows that so we can't let him in. Not even a little bit. As Elder Scott has said "Your great potential and ability could be limited or destroyed if you yield to the devil-inspired contamination around you. However Satan is no match for the Savior. Satan's fate is decided. He knows he has lost, but he wants to take as many with him as he can. He will try to ruin your goodness and abilities by exploiting your weaknesses. Stay on the Lord's side and you will win every time."

And in saying that I am really trying to overcome the natural man. And I've found one of my biggest issues is being selfish/not selfless enough. I seem to think, I want what I want and I want it now! But tha’ts not okay. This work is not about me, I don't receive the glory for the work done, Heavenly Father does. And the perfect example in all of this is Jesus Christ. He never wanted the glory. Satan tried to tempt him with that, but he never gave in. I love the stories of Jesus, when it talks about him going to serve his disciples or something, and he sees a multitude of people and he is moved with compassion. He stops and helps them. I know that I need to be more selfless. The times when I do give more of myself, I feel more compassionate, I feel happier, I feel closer to my Heavenly Father. I love that I have this opportunity to see what I need to improve on. Because each time I do, I am one step closer to my Heavenly Father. As Elder Holland said "Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don't hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith."

And just to add a few great experiences of the week. Once again Alecia is doing beautifully. Her daughters are magnificent and we just love them to pieces. I will really miss her when we leave. But something I loved, we gave her two older daughters Book of Mormons, and they were ecstatic. The one picked it up and Alecia told her she could have it and she just got this huge grin on her face. Its was so adorable. And then we all went around and shared what we were thankful for and her 3 year old, was like "I'm thankful for Jesus." It was adorable. And then right before we left, the 3 year old said the prayer. It was so cute. Alecia helped her through it. It looked like she had been a member for ages, not just a little over a week. It’s amazing to really watch the Lord bless his children with His Gospel.

Well I have never felt more of an outpouring of the spirit in my life then I have on my mission. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is TRUE with all the energy and passion I possess. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives. I know that the Atonement is real. I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, and He Loves being our Father. I love him too!
I Love you all!
I hope you have a wonderful week!
Sister Benjamin

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