June 2, 2014

What a week! I learned so much. It was incredibly stretching, and great. These are the weeks I love the most. Not that I ask for challenging weeks, but they are always the times when I grow the most.
Earlier this week I was studying King Benjamin’s address in the Book of Mormon and Mosiah 4: 27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order… really stuck out to me. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but it stayed on my mind for a lot of the week. It all came together on Friday when I got sick. I felt awful….first time in the field when I have been too sick to go out and work. And let me tell you it is not fun.
The Zone Leaders came over and gave me a blessing and in the blessing Mosiah 4:27 was quoted, specifically telling me to remember that I can’t run faster than I have strength, and that everything has its purpose and order. As I pondered that I realized that I was trying to understand and figure out a lot of things right then and there. I was trying to get answers to every question I had and I was promised that I would get answers to my prayers and so I kept thinking, well why aren’t they coming. Well silly old me, once again trying to do things my own way. Well let me tell you, that never works out. Ha J But this all comes together to be my core experience with the Lord. A little while later I got on my knees and I began praying. I told the Lord all concerns, all the questions I wanted answered, all the feelings of my heart. I prayed for a really long time.
And then I sat patiently and quietly, trying very hard to listen to the spirit and listen to my Heavnely Father. And the clearest voice said to me Peace Be Still. It seemed that every thought, question, concern, or anything else, was wiped from my mind. I felt at peace. And then my mind was immediately turned to the Story in the Bible of the Apostles on the Sea of Galilee. Mark 4: 37-40
 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.
 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
The Storm was there for me, but the Savior cared enough to calm the storm for me. But I learned another important lesson, not only that the Savior will calm the storm for me and all of us, but that I was lacking faith and trust. I was being fearful. I was afraid I wasn’t going to receive an answer. I wasn’t waiting upon the Lord, I was waiting upon myself. I felt myself being asked “How is it that ye have no faith?”
This was certainly my core experience with God, to be able to receive such a powerful answer, helping me to once again turn my heart to the Lord. Helping me to fully rely on Him and realize that it wasn’t up to me. Just as King Benjamin said “all things must be done in order.”
My experience teaching as Jesus taught was seeing the miracle of fasting. This Tuesday my companion and I both felt prompted to fast for one of our investigators. We fasted for her on Tuesday as we went to the temple. We fasted all day. But on that day nothing seemed to come from it. We ran into her at the library and she wasn’t to keen to talk to us. It hurt me, because I love her so much, but we decided to just keep praying for her and give her time.
So we ended up calling her on Wednesday evening, and she almost seemed herself again. She was laughing with us and she was talking to us like she used to. That gave us hope. We asked if we could come and see her and she immediately said yes. We wanted to really have a good lesson with her, we didn’t want her to run away again and we wanted her to know that we loved her, as well as the Savior. We petitioned the Lord, we both tried to listen to the spirit for what was to be a lesson for her. The answer came and we talked to her about her relationship with her son. WE talked about how the Gospel blesses families, and as we were sitting with her, she asks can I tell you something? We said of course of course!
She then begins to tell us how she found this book in the library that had some anti Mormon material in it. She said as soon as she saw it she closed the book because she felt so bad. This had happened last weekend and she didn’t want to tell us because she felt bad about it. But she said something inside her was telling her to tell us. She said this had been what had stopped her from coming to Church last week and from “feeling cold” as she said. We were able to talk to her about it and tell her it wasn’t true. We talked about how all good things come from God and that those things can happen when we are honestly trying to seek answers. And as we did that the spirit came. She said she felt so much better and then she even asked, Can I come back to Church this Sunday? My goodness! I LOVE IT! Of course you can come to Church! 
I learned powerfully the lesson of fasting. When we are willing to sacrifice and give of ourselves the Lord blesses us and those we serve. I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father helped us and allowed us to have that experience together. She did come to Church and she loved it once again. 
Now this week I learned another powerful lesson, and it definitely relates to having success as missionaries, to be able to work and help to bring forth fruit in our work. This lesson I learned is to work and to “act as though it were impossible to fail.” Before I started my mission I was afraid to go for much of anything, to try new things, because I was always afraid of the outcome. I was afraid of failure. In school I didn’t study like I should because I was afraid that I would still get a bad grade. It has definitely creeped into the mission field as well. Sometimes I am so afraid of someone not getting baptized, rejecting us, not coming to Church and so on, that I wouldn’t even talk to them or try like I know I should. Now what kind of attitude is that? Well it’s a really bad one! Ha 
How do you suppose we are to overcome this? Well I will tell you! With hope! But not just any kind of hope, we need the hope that comes from trusting the Savior Jesus Christ, believe that as long as you do everything you can, there really is no failure. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a Gospel of failure but a formula for change and success. For happiness and joy and reaching and achieving our greatest potential.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said “Hope is a gift of the spirit. It as a hope that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection, we shall be raised unto life eternal and this because of our faith in the Savior. This kind of hope is both a principle of promise as well as a commandment and as with all commandments we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope. Hope in our Heavenly Father’s merciful Plan of Happiness leads to peace, mercy, rejoicing and gladness. The hope of salvation is like a protective helmet; it is the foundation of our faith and anchor to our souls.”
When we have hope in the Savior and act as though it were impossible to fail, miracles will happen. I have seen this occurring on my mission when we did all we could miracles came and lives were changed. This is the hope the Gospel brings and it’s contagious. Others see it and they want it!
I am so privileged to have  been raised in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Lord has blessed me more then I can even express. Its wonderful and I am so grateful to be able to be sharing it with others.

Love You All
Sister Alexis Benjamin

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