January 27, 2014

5 ¶In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and
God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
 6 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father
great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in
righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast
kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to
sit on his throne, as it is this day.
 7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of
David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go
out or come in.
 8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast
chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for
 9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy
people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to
judge this thy so great a people?
 10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
 11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and
hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for
thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for
thyself understanding to discern judgment;
 12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee
a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee
before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

This story of Solomon asking the Lord for “an understanding heart,” not
for his own gain, but for the help of others is an inspiring example
of selflessness. He desired a spiritual gift so that he could help
others. This story has had me thinking a lot lately about my motives.
I’ve been asking myself all sorts of questions such as “Are my motives
right?” “What am I doing this for, personal gain, or to build up the
Kingdom of God?”

In my core experience with God this week I learned the difference
between being a disciple vs. the natural man. As I have gone through
the process of my mission, I have been going through a sanctification
and purification process. Because of the Holy Ghost my very nature has
been changing from the Natural man to the disciple. This week
especially has been humbling as I have been studying the Atonement to
get a better understanding of the power of it. As I studied I came
across a scripture in D&C 45:3-5

Christ is and has done everything for us with absolutely no thought
for himself, only to help us to return back to our Heavenly Father,
clean and pure. He literally is pleading our cause before our Father
in Heaven. In his humble attitude he truly is the perfect disciple.
This has caused reflection on my part to my motives. Whether I am
being like Jesus Christ in desiring to change and acquire spiritual
gifts to become like God, or if I am choosing to go backward in
staying as the natural man would.

In my experiences I learned another way of the disciple. And that is
to continue to change even in the smallest ways. Ways that would seem
inconsequential in the world’s eyes, but in God’s eyes they mean
EVERYTHING. You cannot have the full measure of the light when
darkness still exists. I feel that Heavenly Father sent me on a
mission to change my very nature to that of a disciple. I want so
badly to be worthy of that call. In saying so, it is not an easy thing
to acquire or become. We have to be shaped and molded, completely
turning our will over to our Father in Heaven. But in the end that way
is easier. Heavenly Father’s plan is for our eternal life and
happiness. And if that is what we want we have to be willing to work
for it. So what are we willing to give? Are we willing to sacrifice everything
to become as God is? Am I willing? Can I give all I have in the hope
to return back to his presence? I know that Heavenly Father gives
everything we could possibly ever need and want. All that Heavenly
Father and Jesus Christ want for us is to live with them again. Just
as that scripture said, Jesus literally pleads for us to enter into
the Kingdom of God. He went through our whole lives before we did. He
knows EXACTLY how we feel and are. He knows our doubts, pains, fears,
frustrations, shortcomings, breaking points and all else, and He still
does everything He can to help us return. He knows we aren’t perfect
and that we fall short, but in His perfect love He overcame all for
us, so we can overcome it as well. A scripture illustrates this
beautifully. Isaiah 63:9

In my practice as Jesus taught, to make for a transformational lesson,
Sister Lloyd and I had an amazing lesson with an investigator. He
began by telling us that he knew a little bit about our church, but
somethings confused him. He said he would keep an open mind.
Immediately I started to pray that we would be able to “cut to his
heart” (Mosiah 13:7) to help him feel the spirit. We started to teach
the Restoration. I love how every time we teach it, the spirit is so
powerful. And every time we teach of Joseph Smith and the First
Vision, you just cannot deny that it’s true. I know that as I felt it,
so could he. You could see it in his eyes. He could feel the power and
truth just as I could. We asked him how he felt and all he could say
was “good.” Sometimes you just don’t have the words to express it. We
were able to invite him to be baptized and he said yes. He told us He
had never been baptized before and I knew in my heart he had been
prepared by the Lord.

As with my experience and many others, truly there are many wonderful
things happening in the mission. You can feel the Lord hastening his
work, seeing the harvest and growth of the Church. You can see the
work of salvation occurring as many more come into the fold each year.
And this mission is feeling the surge. As more and more missionaries
come, who are obedient and full of the spirit, the Lord can work
wonders among us. Words cannot express the things you see and feel in
the mission field. I know the Savior is coming and soon. As Elder
Russell M. Nelson said “It is our divine commission to prepare the
world to receive the Savior…and that is what sets us apart from all

Coming to serve a mission has certainly shaped me into the person God
wants me to become. I’m not there yet obviously, but the vision that I
have for my mission is occurring each day. I want to be better in all
things. I want to be so devoted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ that I
will never go astray. Of course it goes up and down and things are
rocky at times, but the Lord’s hand is in it all. I never go through a
day without acknowledging him and asking for his help. I see the need
and I hope that as I continue to serve I will continue to do his will
for His children, to help them in whatever way that they need. I will
go on the Lord’s errand each day and do my best to fulfill it.
I’m so grateful to be serving the Lord in this sacred calling. To be
able to see the miracles is above all the other joy and happiness one
could possibly experience without the Gospel. I’m so grateful to be a
missionary. I know this Church is true and that nothing can stop the
work of the Lord.

Love you all
Sista Benjamin


January 21, 2014

This week. What to even say. It was incredible! It seemed to just go by so fast. I just loved it so much. Sister Lloyd and I had so many miracles this week and I can't even begin to express the gratitude that I feel that the Lord would bless us with so much.
My core experience this week with God was being able to attend the temple. I had prayed the night before that I would be at peace in the temple. That I would have good and praiseworthy thoughts so that I could just feel the joy of the Gospel and be able to feel at peace. I had asked if there was anything that I needed to repent of still or anything that I wasn't forgiven of. And as President Howes has taught us, the temple can be a revelatory experience from the moment you begin, not just at the end. So I sat down and began praying and this overwhelming strength from the spirit overpowered me. I felt so calm and peaceful. I felt the approval of my Heavenly Father and I felt forgiven. I felt that He was pleased with me and the things that I have done. Obviously there is a lot more to be done, it doesn't mean that I'm quitting now. But I just knew that the Lord was pleased with me. It was such a liberating feeling. I know that God is real, that the spirit is real and powerful and that when we are living worthily we are blessed to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion. I felt impressed upon a lot of other things while sitting in the temple, but the most outstanding one to me is how much peace and joy comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It doesn't matter what is going on in the world. What wars, and wickedness are going on around us, the Gospel of Jesus Christ will bring us peace. Heavenly Father will allow us to feel at peace amongst it all. It is wonderful. The worst part about going to the temple though is having to walk back outside, when you know you have to go back out and face the world. But is also wonderful because of all the strength you have gotten from the temple you are ready to fight it all, to live the commandments and sacrifice everything for the Lord. I LOVE THE TEMPLE. I love that we have that blessing. And just as President Howes says, we do need our weekly appointment with God and I know that is what will keep all of us on the right path as we go through this life.

We were also very blessed this week to have a member of the 70 with us. Elder Andrew O'Riordan. What a wonderful and inspired man. He came and did a special conference with our mission this week and it was amazing. The things he said are just exactly what I needed to hear. He talked a lot about the Holy Ghost and some of his roles. One of the things he talked about that really impacted me is, the Holy Ghost role as the cleansing agent of the Atonement. He said "Jesus Christ performed the Atonement, and the Holy Ghost applies it." He brings the atonement to us, and cleanses us. He talked a lot about our sanctification and the level that it should be at. And another thing that really struck me is that if we are being tempted still to do the wrong thing we are not sanctified enough. We should be seeking the spirit all day long everyday. We shouldn't be seeking the things of the world. It was very powerful.
Another thing he said that really struck me is how in tune we need to be with the spirit. He talked a lot about the times that it is hard and when it is we should be turning to the scriptures, and to the words of the Apostles. What wonderful power can we receive from those words. And one last thing he talked about was being on the Lord's errand and how that makes the Gospel exciting. When we are feeling the spirit the Gospel is exciting. And when we are feeling the spirit we are on the Lord's errand. He said that we should pray to be on the Lord's errand everyday. We should be seeking to help who He needs to be helped and then give them the things that the Lord would give them if he were here with them. I felt a strong desire to be completely on the Lord's errand. To get rid of any personal agenda that I have and just be focused on my purpose as a missionary, to invite all to come unto Christ.

I feel that the spiritual growth that has come to me on my mission has been incredible. I have seen so much of a change in myself since I first started my mission. The Lord has called me and stretched me to do things that I did not know were possible. But because of the power of his grace and mercy those things have been able to be accomplished. I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. I love them and they are my best friends. I feel such a powerful connection with them. And I know that Heavenly Father is real and that He does love me and all of us. He is our Heavenly Father and this is his plan for us. And I feel that I have seen that even more because I have watched him literally guide us hand and foot to those who are in need of the Gospel. The scriptures have literally become my friends. There hasn't a day gone by on my entire mission when I have not turned to the scriptures in some way. They have helped me through my struggles and hard times and have increased my knowledge of the Gospel. They have brought me peace and joy and they have helped so many other people to increase their faith as well.

I know the Lord literally is guiding this work. We were able to witness miracles this week, one especially powerful in being able to find a new investigator. We had followed up with a Recent Convert and we felt that we needed to go finding on the street. We didn't have a lot of time and we knew we needed the Lords help. One house kept catching my eye, but my companion and I both felt that we needed to say a prayer and petition the Lord for his help. We prayed and then both of us had our eye on the same house. this man has been so prepared by the Lord and It was incredible to see. He shared things with us and we were able to testify of the truths of the Gospel that really helped him. It was a wonderful experience.

Wow. I know this is the Lord's work. I thank him everyday for the opportunity that I have to be serving here in this mission and being able to see the Lord's hand in all things. I'm so grateful for this Gospel. I love being a missionary and I love being here.
I love you all and hope you have a great week.
Sister Benjamin


Obedience, The First Law of Heaven

Wow this week was wonderful. It just went by so fast. I am so grateful for the transformational experiences I had and for the miracles we saw. To start off I would like to share a quote. One by Elder Russell M. Nelson from his talk "Decisions for Eternity." It says "A strong human spirit with control over appetites of the flesh is master over emotions and passions and not a slave to them. That kind of freedom is as vital to the spirit as oxygen is to the body! Freedom from self slavery is true liberation."
This quote has been on my mind a lot these last couple of days. I have been pondering and trying to figure out how this applies to me and my mission. I've come up with a couple of options, but one that sticks out in my mind is obedience. But more than that- the higher law of obedience. Obedience is doing the right thing because you have to, or you are asked. You feel obligated to do the right thing because of someone or something else. Something we talk a lot about in this mission is being freely obedient. Meaning you are obedient because it's who you are. You do the right thing because it’s in your very nature. No rule is too difficult, because it is just who you are. You are obedient because you want to be. Exact obedience brings blessings, but free obedience brings miracles.
Obedience relates to all things in life. You feel liberated once scripture reading, praying, church attendance, repenting and so on, are done because you want to do them. The reason I bring this up is because I was able to notice a real shift in my nature this week. I saw myself changing from an exact obedience level to a free obedience level. And it hasn't been something that has occurred just this week, but a continual process throughout my whole mission. It is my core experience with God this week. Obedience has been something that I have had to choose each day on the mission. To be obedient or not? And I found with most things I was being obedient because I was a missionary, it was asked of me and I felt obligated. But now I've seen the shift. I want to be obedient, I want to get up at 6:30, I want to study, I want to go finding, to talk to everyone. Truly it feels free. I feel happier and there seems to be a quickness in my pace. I of course, am not perfect. I still make mistakes, but that is part of God's plan for me. But as long as I do the best I can, then the Lord does the rest. I know that obedience is what brings the miracles and blessings into my life.
I think I did see the change in myself this week because Sister Lloyd and I did an exchange with the sisters in Grafton. Boy what a flood of memories! As I drove there, I felt the feelings I used to feel in Grafton. I knew the streets, I knew the shops, I even knew the smell. But I realized then and there that everything in Grafton was the same, but I was different. I felt stronger, more faithful, more dedicated and so many other things. I know the Lord is mindful of us and He does plan out our lives so PERFECTLY. He allows us to change and improve so that we can be more like him.
On exchanges in Grafton

I love that God allows us to change. I love that he gives us the experiences to change us and shape us into the person He wants us to be. A quote by Elder Russell M. Nelson illustrates this perfectly. "We can change our behavior. Our very desires can change. How? There is only one way. True change-permanent change-can come only through the healing, cleansing, and enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He loves you -each of you! He ALLOWS YOU TO ACCESS HIS POWER AS YOU KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, EAGERLY, EARNESTLY, AND EXACTLY. It is that simple and certain.The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of change." I hope you caught that line. That God allows us to access his power through our obedience.
All day Sunday, Heavenly Father seemed to be a huge theme. We talked about him in Sunday school, Relief Society and in the lesson we taught a member family. And all I could think of and envision was the love that He has for all of us. He loves us so deeply and so perfectly. And all I kept seeing was the MARVELOUS reunion we will have with our Father in Heaven one day. When we will be able to run into his outstretched arms and just weep because we are so happy to finally see him again.

In my practice this week, teaching as Jesus taught, I did my best to teach according to the needs of others. To forget myself and focus completely on them. On our exchanges especially, I didn't know any of the people we were teaching. I had limited knowledge and so I had to completely rely on the spirit. But it was amazing to see that the Holy Ghost would be able to whisper to me the things they needed. I loved working with this sister. She opened my eyes to the Love she has for others and she helped me to strengthen my testimony of the love God has for each of us.
And in my week to try to find 5 new investigators each week, Sister Lloyd and I did heaps of finding. We talked to so many people. It was amazing to see how many prepared people were placed in our path. And by using the survey we were able to teach according to their needs and desires. One woman we were able to give her the Book of Mormon and invite her to read it. She majors in ancient history and we talked about how that is what the Book of Mormon is, written for our day and time. We are trying so hard to find those people who are prepared and it has been great to witness the hand of God in their lives. Just as God is preparing and sending out more missionaries, he is also preparing the hearts of the children to listen to them and find the Gospel.
I am so grateful to be a missionary. To have this opportunity to serve the Lord and to be able to give up this time in my life in His service. It has been wonderful to witness the change that has come and to feel the love that God has for his Children.
I know this Church is true and I know that this is the Lord’s work.
I love you all. Have a great week
Sister Benjamin


Many Mighty Miracles

Dear Family and Friends,
Okay. I don't even know where to begin. This week has been incredible. Miracles have been appearing everywhere. It has been such a humbling thing to experience. Missionary Work is the greatest thing in the whole world. I LOVE IT. I know without a doubt that the Lord’s hand has guided everything this week. We have been so blessed I can do nothing but sing praises to my God all the day long. Just like they do in the Book of Mormon. My week has caused me to be like Ammon in rejoicing and boasting of my God.
Alma 26: 12,16,35-37

12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.
16 Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel.
35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land.
37 Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever. Amen.

My core experience with God this week was seeing the blessings of being an obedient and consecrated missionary. Ever since my companion and I received the call to be Sister Training Leaders we have done a whole 180, with our sights set on our purpose. "Ever more effectively invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored Gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." Each day we have seen incredible miracles. It reminds me of the promise King Benjamin gives the people if they keep the commandments.

Mosiah 2:41
41 And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, BOTH TEMPORAL AND SPIRITUAL; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

I would like to share a few of the miracles we witnessed this week so you too can know that God is leading this work. Wednesday we had a lesson with one of our investigators.She revealed to us what her true concerns were and we felt the spirit whisper to us that those were true concerns and that we would be able to, through small and simple means, help her to learn more about the Church. Something Sister L and I both felt during that lesson was that so many of the people we are teaching are on the brink of great miracles and changing their lives. If we want to get them there we have to step up our obedience and be worthy to call upon the powers of heaven to help us, help them enter into the fold of God. It’s not like we were doing anything wrong we just knew we could be a lot better. It was really powerful as we both knelt in prayer and asked Heavenly Father how we could be better. And as we have applied those things more and more blessings continue to flow.

My companion and I have been trying this transfer to focus completely on others. One of the ways we have been is by planning effectively and using our study time to help us be better prepared for our lessons. God truly does bless you when you are prepared and doing the things you are supposed to. Just as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 38: 30 "if ye are prepared ye shall not fear." We had felt for a while that we needed to meet with one of our members. They had been out of town for the Holidays, but we were able to catch up with them on Friday. We met her at the Church and we opened with a prayer. And we started by asking her a question we had planned to ask her in our studies that morning. I have no doubt that it was inspired because she opened up to us immediately and she began to tell us of her concerns and struggles. She expressed to us the feeling she had of not being able to find the truth and feeling alone. She felt as if she couldn't pray to Heavenly Father because He wouldn't really be there. My heart was just bursting hearing all these things. I felt that I had been where she was before, but I guess we all have. As she was speaking I was praying so hard that we would be able to share what she needed. I looked down and President Monson's talk, "We Never Walk Alone" jumped out at me. It was the talk we had prepared to share with her. And it turned out to be exactly what she needed. We felt so powerfully in that lesson the love that God had for her, his daughter. And as we were sharing this with her, the spirit was so strong. I couldn't help but cry. We were all crying. In just the spans of an hour we were able to, because of the spirit, help her feel God's love again and the spirit was just there. We all knew that Heavenly Father was real and that He loves all of us. I testify to you know that God's love is real and it never changes. If I know nothing else I know that for certain, and that is what will keep me going.

And Just as Doctrine and Covenants 68:6 says
6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

In my practice to teach as Jesus Taught, I noticed this week the real power of member missionary work. Sunday night we went to a Member home. We had planned to share a lesson with them and a non member friend. It was an amazing, no doubt, a transformational lesson.  Through it all we were able to testify boldly and confidently that God does answer prayers. That He lives, loves us and He is there for us to teach us all truth. WOWZA!  As we left woot, we were so excited. I couldn't even begin to share the joy and happiness we felt. I know without a doubt that any true happiness is felt in and only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sharing it with others.

But in speaking of New Year's Resolutions we had another lesson. And we talked about this and where he saw himself in a year. He was able to paint a picture and a vision of where he saw himself. As tears filled his eyes, we knew that it had 'clicked' with him. As I was watching him, I thought of where I saw 'Sister Benjamin' in a year from now. I could picture it and I realized the only way I could get there was by focusing on this year and what I'm going to do to make this year count.
1. To serve an honourable mission and return with honor.
2. To serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength.
3. To make each and every day count as one worthy in the Lords eyes.
4. Work Hard everyday, no matter how uncomfortable or exhausted I am
5. To love and serve my companion, my area and the people here everyday.
7. Be grateful everyday for the opportunity to be serving the Lord and his children.
8. To change and develop my Nature as a true DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST and not the natural man.
9. Be Freely Obedient and Dedicate each day as a day in the Lord's service.
10. To increase my personal commitment to find, teach and Baptize God's Children everyday.
11. To increase my knowledge of My savior through the Book of Mormon, prayer and serving as he served everyday.
12. Loving the work

This work is not about me, it is about inviting all to Come unto Christ. I know God wants all of his children home with him and I am going to do all I can to help as many as possible get there.
I know that this Church is the true Church on the earth today. I love My Savior and My Heavenly Father. I know this is God's work and I am grateful everyday to be participating in the miracle of the Work of Salvation.
I love you all.  I hope you have a fantastic week full of miracles.
Sister Benjamin