December 23, 2013

This week has been quite the blur. I feel like it has gone by so fast, but so slow at the same time. I can't really explain it I guess. Just missionary time for you. It always seems to go faster then I like....I seriously can't believe it is the end of 2013. I never felt like this time would come. I feel like it has been one of the best years of my entire life. I have learned so much and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to be serving my Heavenly Father and His children.

My wonderful core experience with God this week was being able to finish the Book of Mormon. That was an amazing opportunity for me. Wow. I seriously love the Book of Mormon so much! I can't believe I ever went a day of my life without reading it. It truly is God's word and I am so grateful that we have it on the earth today. As I got nearer and nearer to the end, I got more and more excited to pray to my Heavenly Father and ask to know if it was true. I love that I was able to find out for myself again that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. We are truly so lucky and so blessed to have such a powerful book on the earth today, to help us come closer to Jesus Christ. It is one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has ever given us. As I finished it I was trying to figure out how I should be reading the Book of Mormon this time through, with what lens I should read it with. And as I was sitting in Sacrament meeting yesterday the answer came. And I feel that this time I will read it through the lens of "coming unto Christ." The whole book is full of ways to help us to come closer to Christ and I feel that as I read it through this way I will be able to better testify to God's children that the Book of Mormon really will help and inspire them to come closer to Jesus Christ. And as I have started it again it has been amazing to see just in the first few chapters how many different things there are that help us come closer to Jesus Christ. I have felt the spirit so strongly as I have been reading and applying the things to my life. Ahh. I just love it so much. :)

In my practice in teaching as Jesus taught, I really have been trying to focus more on the investigator and not myself. As I have been studying the scriptures and praying, I have asked to be able to know better what they need to hear and what they need to be taught. And it has been amazing to see the results. I know that as Jesus taught the people he always taught them what they needed to hear and did what they needed. One day I was reading just where I had left off the day before, but Heavenly Father helped me to have a verse stand out to me that we needed to share with an Investigator. And as we did share it with her, she just opened up and told us how she was feeling. The spirit was so strong and it was so powerful to see how much Heavenly Father really truly does know his children.

I feel though that something that has been the strongest theme of this week has been working through the Holy Ghost. As I have prayed for that to be my focus, I have seen so much more the guiding hand of the Holy Ghost in this work. We had such a powerful lesson with a member in the ward. She has been really struggling lately feeling that her testimony is not strong enough and that she has not had as many powerful experiences as other people and all these other things. And as I listened to her the spirit just flooded into my body with feelings of God's love for her. I was able to testify to her because of the Holy Ghost that Heavenly Father created her uniquely and just the way she is for a purpose. That her life is how it is supposed to be, and that the experiences that she has had are tailored just to help her in her progression to become more like her Heavenly Father. As I said the words I knew they weren't mine and it was amazing to feel the love once again that Heavenly Father does have for his children. And then as I was studying a quote came to mind that I thought really went quite well with this experience.
George Q. Cannon said: "There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually given His angels—invisible beings of power and might—charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping." I love this quote because it really is true. God TRULY does love us all so much. Regardless of who we are or what we've done, his love is always there. He has prepared the means for all of us to return to Him and He will do everything He can to help us get there. We just have to be willing to participate.

Another really powerful experience with the Holy Ghost is a lesson that we had with an investigator. We have been trying to meet up with her for ages and it just hasn't seemed to work out. She has been at Church and things but we just haven't been able to meet with her for a while. So this week we finally got the opportunity. It was amazing to because her family has been a little hostile to missionaries in the past, not even letting them in their home, but for some reason she let us in her home. So we had a lesson ready and I felt that we should share a scripture about the Holy Ghost. It was Ether 4:11"But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good." It was amazing to see that that was what she needed. She opened up and began to discuss with us the things that she knew to be true and the things that she was still searching for. Because of the Holy Ghost we were able to help her with some of the things that she was struggling with and because of that my testimony grew stronger.

Another lesson we had was with a member. And she is very strong in the Church and we had asked her earlier in the week if there was someone that we could go and visit with her. And she gave us a name and we tried to make a time, but they were gone, so we felt and decided to have a lesson with her instead. It was amazing that Heavenly Father helped that to happen because he knew what she needed. We felt to discuss the Story of Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. We discussed it and talked about the atonement. She bore powerful testimony to us of how the Atonement had helped her through her trials and how she had become stronger through her trials. At then end of the lesson she kept saying "wow, this is exactly what I needed today." It was incredible to me to see how when the Holy Ghost is the true teacher they will feel the spirit and they will change for the better. We then ended the lesson with a prayer. As I was kneeling I just felt that I wasn't saying the prayer anymore, that the words coming to my mind and out of my mouth were directly from Heavenly Father and the spirit was so powerful. I just couldn't help but feel it and grow stronger in my faith and my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Truly the spirit will witness to us and let the truth be known.

I truly have no idea where I would be without the Holy Ghost. Yesterday we had made plans for the day and as we were going about them, the appointments we had made fell through, but then we were able to catch up with one of our less actives and talk about his Book of Mormon reading. Then we went to the next person we had planned to see, but they weren't home. I felt strongly that we should talk to the people across the road and we were able to teach them about the plan of salvation. Then both Sister Lloyd and I felt to go see one of our Recent Converts. We did and he really needed the chat and lesson. He had been struggling and Heavenly Father allowed us to be the instruments in his hands to help him. As Sister Lloyd and I were discussing our day, we had realized that Heavenly Father had blessed us with all those powerful experiences, because we had been really prepared for the day, we had made the plans and we were being as obedient as we could be. Heavenly Father truly does bless us when we strive to do our best. And just imagine what would have happened if we weren't doing what we were supposed to. I know that God truly does help us and guide us to those who need the help and strength, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives.

If nothing else I know that I was supposed to come to this area to truly learn the goodness and strength that the wonderful people of Toronto have. I have been strengthened and helped because of their goodness. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father sending me to serve in this area and to serve this mission. I love being able to see the light come back into someones eyes and be able to share and testify of the things I know to be true.
I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for the things I know to be true, and for a loving Heavenly Father who truly does help and guide us to those who stand in need.
Love you all
Sister Benjamin

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