My goodness a whole entire week come and gone. I learned so many simple, yet profound lessons this week. And I am so grateful to my Heavenly for allowing me to stretch and grow.
My core experience with God this week was relearning the important lesson of being submissive. One morning during my personal study I was reading from the Book of Mormon and I didn't seem to be getting much from it. I didn't have the spirit with me and as I was pondering why I kept feeling that I needed to go and say a prayer. I finally heeded the prompting and I began to pray. The spirit told me what to say. I was being taught as I prayed. I felt that I had not been listening to the Lord's will. I was relying to much on the arm of the flesh. As I knelt I apologized for my mistake, humbling myself before the Lord. As I did so I felt the spirit enter my heart, filling my body with warmth. I felt the loving, guiding hand of the Lord. I continued on and I apologized for my natural man attitude, and for what I lacked, and the spirit came even more. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from this, but one I really felt was that my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ know me and understand me perfectly. That they sent me here to grow and to progress. So they understand that I will make mistakes. But in the same I have to realize my dependence upon them. That without them I wouldn't be here right now. My Savior suffered me to be here at this time and I cannot rely on myself to do this work. One of the greatest attributes the Savior possessed was his humility. No matter what happened the Savior always recognized complete dependence upon His Father in Heaven. And this is what we all must do. We are not here on earth to run loose, to do whatever we want. We are here to be tested and tried, proved to show our faithfulness to the Lord. And the more we realize this, we will be much better off because of it. And sometimes the Lord just has to humble me to be able to recognize that. A scripture I really loved in my studies goes along with this well. 2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Through this time I am continuing to rid myself of all 'filthiness of the flesh' and it's not easy. But because of Christ's redeeming grace we can all be healed. President James E. Faust said "Life, even our own, is so precious that we are accountable to the Lord for it, and we should not trifle with it. Once gone, it cannot be called back." As President Faust said life is a precious gift given to us. Each day we learn and grow and account to the Lord for our progress. And each day as we improve and change, Christ's gift of Grace is ever more apparent in our lives. And just as Paul said "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (2 Corinthians 9:15)
In my practice as teaching as the Savior taught I learned to listen carefully to the subtle whisper of the Holy Ghost. We were in a lesson with a member in the ward and she was feeling down. She had been on my mind all week and we knew something was wrong. So we planned and prepared and went over there. We began the lesson and I could tell it wasn't impacting her the way the Lord wanted it to. So we began praying fervently that we would know what to say. As we did I felt the Spirit and I felt to tell her that at this time what she is doing is the Lord's will for her. As we said this she told us how she had been seeking the Lord's guidance for the direction that she should go. She said she hadn’t been able to find the answer and she was feeling lost. But we came along and were able to answer her plea and help reassure her of the love the Lord has for her and her wonderful family. I felt that evening my testimony grow to understand even more how we should be so in tune with the spirit. We never know what could be happening with someone but the Lord always does. As we are worthy of the Holy Ghost as our constant companion we can be the answers to others prayers.
This week I have had many opportunities to think about and understand better my relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ. Our new companions were struggling this week feeling discourage in a lot of ways;. After planning one evening they both shared with me their thoughts and how they felt. I wanted to be able to help them and uplift them. It hurt me to see them struggle. But as I listened I began to feel the Love that our Heavenly Father has for these beautiful sisters. I felt the power of their faith, and the spirit they carry. We talked a lot, but the main thing I learned form the experience is that we all are here representing our Savior Jesus Christ. And that of course it won't be easy. Just think of all that He went through to even allow us to be here. He suffered both in body and spirit so that we could have the privilege of being here.
I was then reminded of a talk by Elder Holland, speaking of the Atonement and Missionary work.
He said "Anyone who does any kind of missionary work will have occasion to ask, Why is this so hard? Why doesn't it got better? Why can't our success be more rapid? Why aren't there more people joining the Church? It is truth. We believe in angels. We trust in miracles. Why don't people just flock to the font? Why isn't the only risk in missionary work that of pneumonia from being soaking wet all day and all night in the baptismal font? You will have occasion to ask those questions. I have thought about this a great deal. I offer this as my personal feeling. I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and mission leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane. Missionaries and mission leaders have to take at least a step or two toward the summit of Calvary. Now, please don't misunderstand. I'm not talking about anything anywhere near what Christ experienced. That would be presumptuous and sacrilegious. But I believe missionaries, to come to the truth, to come to salvation, to know something of this price that has been paid, will have to pay a token of that same price. For that reason I don't believe missionary work has ever been easy, nor that conversion is, nor that retention is, nor that continued faithfulness is. I believe it is supposed to require some effort, something from the depths of our soul. If He could come forward in the night, kneel down, fall on His face, bleed from every pore, and cry, "Abba, Father (Papa), if this cup can pass, let it pass' then little wonder that salvation is not a whimsical or easy thing for us. If you wonder if there isn't an easier way, you should remember you are not the first one to ask that. Someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn't an easier way. The Atonement will carry the missionaries. When you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, you are standing with the best life this world has ever known, the only pure and perfect life ever lived. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the Living Son of the Living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him- the way, the truth and the life. I bear witness that He came from God as a God to bind up the brokenhearted, to dry the tears from every eye, to proclaim liberty to the captive and open the prison doors to them that are bound. I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free."
This quote to me has gotten me through some pretty rough times and I know it is only because of our Savior Jesus Christ that any of this is possible. So to anyone who may be struggling what helps me is to picture the Savior and remember all that He went through for me. Then whatever I go through doesn't seem so bad.
I know that Christ is my Savior, Redeemer and advocate with my Father in Heaven. I know no matter the problems I face, I am never alone. I know His Grace abounds and I am grateful for the love and comfort I receive from Him.
I love you all
Sister Alexis Benjamin