What a Wonderful Week

Well....I don't even know where to begin. This week, I can't believe it has only been a week. A lot can change in a week. I cannot believe it is the end of the year. I feel like this year has been one of the craziest years of my whole life. But the best too. I have loved becoming and being a missionary. It has been the single most life changing event that I have ever done. I am truly so amazed and literally in awe of the experiences that I have had. How could you not when an all powerful God is leading you and allowing you to be an instrument in his hands. I am so grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have had on my mission and I would not change them for the world.

Well to start off, I want to express the true joy I felt this week being able to spend Christmas with the sweet and wonderful people in Australia. It didn't really even feel like Christmas to me. But at the same time it did. I guess it's just hard to explain and you really can't understand it unless you have been a missionary. The light of Christ truly was alive in a lot of eyes this week. So many doors were opened to us that wouldn't normally have been. But because it was Christmas more people let us in. One example was a wonderful neighbor to one of our less active members. We have met with her a couple of times but she hasn't been to keen to hear our message. When we went this week she had her grand kids with her and because it was Christmas Eve she let us share a Christmas message with her and her grandsons. We taught them about Jesus Christ and his birth using one of the nativity sets she had. The boys were just eating right out of our hands, so excited and interested in learning. And it was so sweet at the end to pray with them. These little boys (ages 3&6) had never prayed before or even heard of prayer. It was so sweet, it literally melted my heart, that these boys would kneel with us and fold their arms, close their eyes and be so reverent. The spirit was so strong.It made me think of an experience in the scriptures, when Jesus comes to visit the Nephites and blesses the little children.
In 3 Nephi 17: 20-24.
20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And now behold, my joy is full.
21 And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
22 And when he had done this he wept again;
23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.

This chapter is one of my favorites because I think it shows the true character of Christ. That he loved the little children and called them to him. He blessed them one by one and he wept because of the sweetness of the experience. I just couldn't help but feel this with these 2 little boys. They were so sweet and I love that they can know and feel the spirit even when they are that young. I love that Heavenly Father guided us and allowed us to have that experience what a special blessing!

Another wonderful blessing was being able to speak to my family. I felt the spirit very strongly and I was just so incredibly grateful that Heavenly Father placed me in such a wonderful family. Doing so allowed me to learn about the Gospel from the beginning for my whole life. What a powerful gift. Something though that my Dad said struck a cord with me. He asked what I was going to do differently for the rest of my mission to make it even better. I find it amazing that he asked because I had been pondering that so much lately. I had a very powerful experience doing so, which is my core experience with God this week.

On Christmas Eve I was having a lot of thoughts coursing through my head and I just couldn't seem to get a handle on them. I was distracted and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. But one thought wouldn't leave my mind. I felt I needed to go pray. So I did. I didn't know what I was going to say, so I just started telling Heavenly Father the thoughts going through my head. As I continued to tell him more and more, this feeling of overwhelming peace overcame me. I couldn't help but tear up. I knew in that moment that Heavenly Father had heard my plea, that He was aware of me and that He knew me and my concerns. He acknowledge me and it was one of the most powerful prayers I have ever had. When I was praying and feeling this response I couldn't help but think about all the times I had chats like this with my parents. When I would be struggling or had a lot on my mind I would just always go and talk to them. They would help me and I would just feel a lot better. But this time is was different and even more special because I was able to have that experience with my Heavenly Father.

In that prayer as well I felt my will coming even more to the will of the Father. I felt so close to Him and I just felt this strong desire and pull to do what he asked of me, whatever it would entail. Its good because on Saturday my companion and I found out about transfers. We didn't know what to expect and we found out we were both staying. Woot. What a relief I am so glad that we get to spend another transfer together. But a little while later we received another call. :) A call that was very humbling and exactly what the Lord needed at this time. President called us and asked us to be Sister Training Leaders. Wow. I didn't see that one coming. But I am so so excited. I am so grateful for this new opportunity to serve the wonderful sisters in this mission. It has been amazing to me to, in just the last little while how much my love has grown for all the sisters and some of them I haven't even met yet. I feel a lot though that I'm not the one who will be helping them, that they will be helping me. All these sisters are amazing Daughters of God and I can't wait to see how this transfer plays out. I love that it gives us the time and opportunity to serve them more, think about ourselves less and just give of all our time and talents to serving the Lord. I am so excited! :)

"Coincidence is one of those events caused by the Lord who chooses to remain anonymous." -Elder Dallin H. Oaks. I would like to share one last experience that I feel is literally no coincidence. My companion and I, Saturday evening, went to go visit a member. We were excited because we had planned a lesson totally by the spirit and I really wanted to share it with her. But sadly we knocked on the door and no one answered. So we decided to walk back to the car and go see our back up. As we were walking we saw a man working on his car. So of course we go and speak to him. He begins to tell us all about his religion. That he is Christian, that he doesn't believe in organized religion, or having church buildings or temples or anything of the sort. Something that we hear all too often I think. But we spoke to him and we were guided by the spirit completely talking about the Book of Mormon and he didn't seem to interested in what we had to say, but we weren't taking no for an answer. We committed him to pray about the things we had talked about and that we would follow up with him the next day.

One of the greatest things I have learned and grown to love on my mission, is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. What I love about this though, is that its not just a one sided relationship. Heavenly Father wants to have that relationship with us as well. More then we can even comprehend. Out of all the miraculous titles and callings he has the one he asks us to use is Father.

So of course we go back Sunday evening and he said he prayed but the answer he received was that he needed to help us, not us to help him. So we shared what the spirit allowed us to share, all the while trying to be calm and keep the spirit. And he just didn't want anything to do with it. But the interesting thing to me was how sincere he was and how much he believed what he said was true. And the amazing part of it, is that most of what he did say was true. And all Sister Lloyd and I could think about would be how wonderful he would be in the Church. He is so dedicated and He would do wonderful things. But sadly he wouldn't have it so we left. And as we were leaving I felt this huge feeling from the Spirit that, that lesson was exactly what needed to happen. We needed to share all the things we did even if he didn't accept it. And as we all know we have our agency we can decide what we like. I am still praying for him that one day he will have a mighty change of heart and want to learn more. And who knows  maybe he will. But what is amazing to me always is how much our Heavenly Father loves each one of his children. He gives them the opportunity to hear the Gospel even if they won't accept it. He does everything he possibly can short of forcing us, to accept His Gospel. 

I know that God lives. I know that He loves each and everyone of us so much. I know that without this Gospel I would be no where. I am so grateful to have been raised in a wonderful family and in the Church.
I love you and hope you have a wonderful week.
Love Sister Benjamin

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