Love y'all heaps! :)

Well, what an absolutely crazy week. :) ha :) We stayed in our area for most of the week, and it felt strange. Ha :) But in a good way. We loved it. We were able to visit heaps of our investigators and make a lot of progress with them, which we were so excited about. There were lots of ups and downs and learning experiences but it was of course exactly what needed to happen.
My core experience with God this week was finally being able to receive the answer to my studies. The Lord blessed me because it was the right time for me to come to this conclusion. For about a month or so I've been studying a lot about weakness. It started because Sister Howes and I were chatting about Ether 12:27. I had mentioned that it basically was a theme for my mission, trying to overcome all my weaknesses and shortcomings. But what she said really stood out to me. She mentioned that in the verse, it doesn't say weaknesses, but weakness. So of course knowing me I had to research that and pray about it and find out what that meant for me. I have been studying it for about a month, I haven't had much time to focus on it, but it all came together on Wednesday when we were preparing for a lesson for a group of our YSA girls. In my studies that morning I had read all about God's love and my companion had read all about the sanctification through the Holy Ghost. We talked about it a lot and were able to come to a good conclusion for what we should share with them. We first talked about Ether 3:2.
2 O Lord, thou hast said that we must be encompassed about by the floods. Now behold, O Lord, and do not be angry with thy servant because of his weakness before thee; for we know that thou art holy and dwellest in the heavens, and that we are unworthy before thee; because of the fall our natures have become evil continually; nevertheless, O Lord, thou hast given us a commandment that we must call upon thee, that from thee we may receive according to our desires.
We talked a lot about the verse and pulled it apart. Focusing on the fact that we are unworthy before the Lord and that because of the fall our natures are carnal. But the last line is what we focused on most. Is as the Lord asks us to call upon him so that we may receive according to our desires. So we talked about letting the Atonement change us. To allow the Lord to change our natures and make us as He is. We then shared the example of Nephi doing this and allowing the Atonement to encompass him and change him.
2 Nephi 4:19-35
19 And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.
20 My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
23 Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.
24 And by day have I waxed bold in mighty prayer before him; yea, my voice have I sent up on high; and angels came down and ministered unto me.
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I should not write them.
26 O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
27 And why should I yield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy?
28 Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the enemy of my soul.
30 Rejoice, O my heart, and cry unto the Lord, and say: O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation.
31 O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul? Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies? Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin?
32 May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! O Lord, wilt thou not shut the gates of thy righteousness before me, that I may walk in the path of the low valley, that I may be strict in the plain road!
35 Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen.

As we read these verses one of the girls asked what my interpretation was of verse 21, unto the consuming of my flesh. I thought about it for a moment, and thank goodness for the spirit, I was able to tell her, and what I said wasn't from me, but it was the answer to my question. I said that as we choose to let the Atonement change us, just as Nephi did, God's love will consume our flesh. So that's it. The flesh is the weakness. And if you go even further the flesh is the Natural Man, our one and only weakness.
Mosiah 3:19 says that the Natural Man is an enemy to God, and has been and will be forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit. Or unless he lets the Atonement change him to over come the Natural man, once and for all. The Natural man encompasses so much, everything that is not pointing us to God, even in the slightest is the Natural Man. But the promise is extended in Ether 12:27, our weakness will be made strong as we humble ourselves before the Lord. We must choose to be humble, choose to be submissive to the will of the Lord and it will bless us infinitely more then anything else that possibly could happen.
Another great example of this is Moses.
Moses 1:7-11
7 And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son, for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.

8 And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.

9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.

10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

11 But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.

As Moses learned we are absolutely nothing without God. We are just natural and can't be changed. But as he says in vs 11, he saw God with his spiritual eyes and he was transfigured. It goes on to say later in the chapter that Satan tries to tempt him and demands that Moses look upon him and worship him. But Moses realizes because he is so close to the Spirit that he doesn't have to succumb to his enticings anymore. God is more powerful and Satan won't get him anywhere. As did Moses, we must all learn this lesson, that the things of the world will never get us anywhere, but the things of God will allow us to receive Eternal life so that we may be on the right hand of God.

In my experience teaching as Jesus Taught we had a powerful lesson with one of our investigators. We have been working with him for a while and we know that he is ready to be baptized soon but we wanted to make sure that He knew he was ready. So my companion had us all close our eyes and picture ourselves there on the day of his baptism. As we all pictured it we could see him all dressed in white, baptized and clean with a huge smile on his face. But the best part was that he could see it too.  He knew then that he was ready to be baptized. The spirit was very strong in the lesson and I just knew that God was preparing him for baptism.  Of course we told him that he wasn't going to be perfect after his Baptism, just clean. So many people believe they have to be absolutely perfect before they are baptized, but what they don't realize is that Baptism is just the first step to perfection.

This week we had an STL conference and the Assistants did a training and they spoke about Enoch. What they said really stood out to me. We read in Moses about the wonderful example of strength and faith that Enoch was. One verse that really stood out to me was at the end of Moses Chapter 7.
Moses 7:69
69 And Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled.

I loved this verse. As we continued to talk about it I could see it in my mind. All those people with Enoch walking with God. As I continued to think about this I yearned to be there, to be in the presence of the Prophet and in the presence of God, walking with Him. But then I had the realization that we already do have that, a living prophet on the earth today and we can and do walk with God each day. Of course it is not the same situation but we have the opportunity to be doing the work of God and walking with him each and every day. He doesn't leave us alone. He wants us all to return to him and just as Enoch was an instrument in His hand's so can we all be. Just as it says in D&C 84:88

88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

The Lord will always be with us, and he will send angels round about us to bear us up.

I feel that we can all relate to Enoch. In the beginning Enoch is called by God to be a prophet and leader. Immediately he begins to tell the Lord of his weakness, his slowness of speech and how surely there is someone better capable then him. Then the Lord tells him that he is qualified, that as he shows his faith, the words will come to his mind and heart of what he shall say. (Moses 6:31-34,37)
As see Enoch trusts in the promise that God gives him and because of that people cannot even stand in his presence because of the power of faith that he has. (Moses 6:47) Mountains are moved and cities are translated. Yes of course I am no where near at the stature of Enoch. I'm not a prophet of God. But all of us receive calls from God that do stretch us and pull us out of our comfort zones. But I know that as we follow the example of Enoch and trust in God, He will make us mighty. I know without the Lord's help in everything, I would never be able to be a missionary. I have way to many faults. But I know it is by his strength that I am made whole. Because of the Atonement I can do all things that are required of me. If we let the Atonement work in us, being submissive to the will of the Lord, He will change our natures. We will be like Him. Anything and everything is important to the Lord.

I know that this is the plan God lined up for us. He wants us to be like Him, and He wants us back with Him. I know that as we strive to serve the Lord faithfully and with all the energy of heart, we will be given all the strength we need.

Love you heaps
Sister Benjamin

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