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

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