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

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