April 14, 2014

To the greatest family and friends eva! :)

This week, ah I just learned so much. It was wonderful! I feel so indebted to the Lord and so deeply grateful for the infinite power of His grace. In District meeting this week I had a really eye opening experience as we discussed forgetting ourselves and going to work. One of the sisters spoke of the song "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief." It really helped me to understand what it means to forget myself and serve the Lord. The verses she quoted really touched my heart. This man speaks of seeing the struggles of men, helping them and then seeing his own problems solved because of it, and then blessings being granted unto him 100 fold. Verse 6 & 7 struck a chord with me.
In pris'n I saw him next, condemned
To meet the traitors doom at morn.
The tide of lying tongues i stemmed
And honored him mid shame and scorn.
My friendships utmost zeal to try,
He asked if I for him would die.
Then in a moment to my view
The stranger started from disguise
The tokens in his hands I knew;
The Savior stood before mine eyes.
He spake, and my poor name he named,
"of me thou has not been ashamed.
These deeds shall thy memorial be;
fear not, thou didst them unto me."
As I read this my mind began to ponder upon what this truly meant and my thoughts were turned toward the Savior, and his final days here as a mortal being. How he literally bled from every pore and his blood ran chill, meaning he had not more to give. He fell into the hands of His enemies, who whipped and beat Him nigh unto death. He had a crown of thorns placed on His head. And as He made His long walk to His death, His cross placed upon His back, He fell to the earth exclaiming His exhaustion, but because He understood the work for Him to do, He continued on. He finished the fight. He was nailed to the cross, and crucified for our sins and transgressions. But then three days later, he broke the bonds of death and was resurrected. His flesh was weak, his blood ran chill, but His free spirit cried "I will." In every way for us, this is the example that we should follow. The Savior forgot himself completely. He moved from one life saved to the next. He never stopped turning hearts to the Father and he helped us all see and understand who God really is. And this is what it means for us to forget ourselves and go to work.
In 2 Nephi 9:18  But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.
As we endure our own crosses of the world, and give more and more of ourselves we will be able to inherit the Kingdom of God. But as in all things our flesh is weak. We are natural men and women, but just as the Savior did, we can choose to overcome it. We can choose to let our free spirit cry out and we can be as the Savior, giving all we have until the end.

In Mosiah 2:21  21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.
I read this scripture from King Benjamin earlier this week and I thought it went along with this quite well. We literally are moving from one moment to the next only because of the help our Heavenly Father gives us each and every day. We are so helpless on our own. The Savior gave everything He had and He still continues to give it to us, so no matter what else we do, we are still unprofitable servants before Him. We are always indebted to Him. But to him all that He asks is that we keep the commandments. And then we are doing all we can. We serve the Lord with all our heart, might, mind and strength and then we can return to live with Him again.
As I continued to ponder this and understand more of this General Conference came along. All the wonderful inspired messages, really helped me to understand even more of what I can do to become more like the Savior each and every day, and give more of myself, and help those who stand in need.  I of course loved all the talks and it seemed that every single one had something for me. It’s incredible that the spirit can touch all of our hearts, so readily and powerfully. I noticed many themes in conference this round, such as, self control, service, the power of prayer, the power of faith, obedience!, and using the Atonement in our Lives.
Here are some highlights.
-President Monson- my mission is a joyous occasion, and something that I will relive through my future children and family.
- Elder Holland - That it is so worth it to be a missionary and to be given this load to bear. When it's hard, picture the Savior on the Mount of Olives weeping over me. I want the Heavenly Father that I have come to know and love. He who supports me and strengthens me, but also chastises me, rebukes me and allows me to change.
-Elder Rasband- To take up my joyful burden of disciple ship. But this joy is not easily accessible. I have to be willing to serve and feel the joy from within my soul. Only comes through prayerful Service.
-Elder Amado- Developing the power of self-control. "The only control we have in this life is self-control." Elder Holland.
-Sister Reeves- Once again self control. We are sent here to learn to control the appetites of the flesh. We are not to react with negativity to others situations, but to show love and kindness. Also to remember that my choices not only affect me, but the others around me. If I am disobedient and lose the spirit then they lose out as well.
-Elder Anderson- I was reminded of another talk He gave entitled "Beware the Evil behind smiling eyes." The world is in commotion and we have to be careful where we put our faith and trust. But if we put our trust in the Savior then we will be protected from the whirlwinds of life. And that we all need to understand how individually the spirit speaks to us.
-President Eyring- We have the choice every hour to make or break our covenants. We must learn that blessings come later to exercise our faith and repentance must come quickly to learn humility, so that we aren't compelled to be humble.
-Elder Nelson- We cannot separate our life into parts. It's all one and as we pray with faith we will be able to make right choices with courage.
-Elder Scott- Trust those around me to be able to make righteous choices once they have been taught. Righteousness cannot be forced, it must be chosen.
-= Elder Hales- Loved this one! If Disobedience occurs, its because I love Satan more then the Savior. Savior like love=Savior like obedience.
Elder Zwick- Once again, self control. Controlling what comes out of my mouth. Don't turn an already hazardous situation into a fatal one.
-Elder Cook- Family History. Keep a vision of the Celestial Kingdom and all those waiting to enter in.
- President Uchtdorf- Gratitude=Happiness. Not just being grateful in the good but in the bad as well. Like for instance when someone smears something really nasty and smelly on your mission car, you are just grateful it wasn't on your clothes or through your hair. The same transformation given to the Apostles, is required of us as well. And there is no ending to discipleship, just short pauses, or interruptions.
-Elder Ballard- Haha! Follow up and persistence is key! :) It really is amazing the change that occurs in others when we follow up with faith.
Sister Stevens- "Prayer doesn't change God, but it changes me." The Gospel, missions, marriage and so on is our way of life, n ot something that we just check off our list of things to do. We must take serious consideration to the path that we choose.
-Bishop Stevenson- "only got 4 minutes to save the world!" :) My time has started and I can't think that I've ruined it before. The Savior Decides when my times up and even if that means starting today. I will give it my all. I loved to about Tora Bright and how she wanted to compete well, but she wanted all her competitors to as well. I love that example and that I can do my part, but I should be as the good Samaritan and help those struggling.
-Elder Bednar- I love his as well! His talk really made me want a nice big royal blue F-150 :) But I loved that with the load we carry that is what gives us spiritual traction. But we must make sure the load we carry is with only what we need not with old rotten fire wood that just drags us down. And how covenant keeping makes us grounded and endows us with power. And how the Atonement is for the faithful and obedient and we can access its power through being so. I must also allow Heavenly Father to help me, not to rely on my own strength.
-President Monson- Loving God allows our hearts to grow to love our fellow men. There are opportunities all round us to love.
President Packer- Our heartfelt pleadings and tearful words are heard and will touch the hearts of the Father and the Son. He is our Father, his love never ends. Choose to follow them.
-Elder Perry- Obedience! :) :) I love that we all have spiritual "bits" in our mouths but the spirit will only tug so gently that if we aren't focused we won't be able to recognize it.
-Elder Corbridge- I LOVED THIS ONE! :) :) I didn't want him to stop talking. I love direct and to the point, bluntly delivered messages. The spirit just oozed out of his words. That the dust encircles us as the truth comes, but trust in the Lord's ordained servants and you will overcome the cloud.
-Elder Aidukiatis- Ha :) I loved how he talked, and read scriptures with enthusiasm! "One should not roam through garbage."
-Pres. Monson- Heavenly Father is willing to come so close to us. We just need to give Him the chance.
Conference was absolutely amazing. I am so grateful to have living prophets on the earth to lead us and to guide us. I am so grateful that even though I can be so far away from them, I can still feel their love and the unity of the members of the Church. I am so grateful that we have a God we know and love, not a comfortable being, who pats us on the head and sends us to pick marigolds. I'm grateful that He challenges us and proves us, enough to show that He loves unconditionally and He desires our return back to Him. I am grateful for the loving grace of My Savior, Jesus Christ and that no matter what happens He is there beside me.

Love you heaps and heaps
Sister Alexis Benjamin

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