Love you all! :)

Wow. Week of miracles! We are so so blessed! 

My core experience with God this week would have to be the baptism of the four most beautiful children in the whole world. Their baptism was incredible. The spirit was so strong. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. They literally were glowing. I spoke about Baptism and I couldn’t help but feel the spirit and look in their smiling faces and just feel the immense love their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for them.
It made me think about the example of the Savior when he comes and visits the Americas, and blesses the little children.  In 3 Nephi 17:20-24
 20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And anow behold, my joy is full.
 21 And when he had said these words, he awept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and bblessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
 22 And when he had done this he wept again;
 23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
 24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and aencircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.
I love that these children were able to grow and learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think they know more then I do. It has been amazing to be able to teach them. They have incredible faith and they are just amazing. I remember frequently sitting with them and them being able to understand fully everything we would teach. They would have incredible questions and they would just be full of the desire to learn all that they could. They read from the Book of Mormon everyday. They are so much more dedicated then I was at their age. They are all under the age of 12 and they are so ready to continue to build up the Church here. 
 Well this week I continued to learn the lesson of Self control. This week I was studying a few conference talks and so many things stuck out to me. I’ve tried my best to apply them and I have noticed a real change within myself. I had so many moments this week when my control was being tested, but I would just sit back and think of the Savior and it would be so much easier. I felt stronger than I was last week, I felt stronger because the Savior was the one helping me. One experience I had was when I was studying. I read a particular talk and I began to feel a weight in my chest. I felt that I wasn’t completely repentant of something I thought I had repented of. I kept reading but the thought would not go away.
I got down on my knees and began to pray fervently to my Heavenly Father. I was ‘real’ with Him. I told Him exactly how I felt. I let it all out. I prayed so hard, and I didn’t even realize how long I had been on my knees. But as I sat there listening to Heavenly Father, the sweetest peace came into my heart. I felt this literal weight being lifted from my shoulders. I felt completely clean, I felt loved and I felt that I was ready to conquer the world. I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I felt like a new person and I was so grateful that Heavenly Father would answer my prayer so quickly and so readily. 
In a talk that I read, a quote by President David O. McKay really stuck out to me. He said “Spirituality is the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the infinite. Spirituality impels one to conquer difficulties and acquire more and more strength. To feel one’s faculties unfolding and truth expanding the soul is one of life’s sublimest experiences.”
Having self control is spirituality. It is amazing. The spirit is more powerful and closer when you are in control not anyone else.
I’m glad I learned this because it seemed that day there was no end to the test of faith that occurred. People we met that day, seemed all to want to try and battle me to lessen my degree of faith. But little did they know that Heavenly Father had prepared me. Heavenly Father knew this would happen so He allowed me to have this powerful experience so that I could stand up for what I believed in all day long. It felt so good to be able to testify of the truth. To tell people that I know that God lives and that He does forgive us, that He loves and us and He wants us to return to live with Him again.
One experience I really loved was on an exchange with Sister L. We saw two women sitting on benches waiting for the bus. We walked up to them and we separated and I had never done that before. I had never ever taught someone all by myself. But thank goodness for the spirit. We were able to talk about so much and especially Family History. She told me that she knew this Church was true and that the Book of Mormon was the word of God. I really didn’t even have to say much. I invited her to church and she seemed so excited to come. I love when you meet people so prepared by the Lord.
This week has been incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better week. There was still a couple of rough patches, but Heavenly Father has been watching out for us. I love this area and I love this ward. I’m grateful to have witnessed such a change in them since the time I’ve been here.

I've learned so much this week about what it means to really be a sanctified messenger of the Lord. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me with this opportunity to serve.
Love you all
Sister Alexis Benjamin

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