This week was quite the week. My goodness. I feel like we were in meetings everyday, which we were, but I loved every second of it. It was wonderful. I love being able to learn so much.
Earlier this week I studied the a talk by Elder David A. Bednar from April 2014 General Conference, which becomes my core experience for the week. He spoke a lot of the Atonement and bearing our burdens, keeping our load where it needs to be at. He shared one of my favourite stories about Alma and the people, facing persecution from the wicked priest Amulon. They are being forced not to pray, but they still choose to pray in their hearts and God listens and answers. But what I loved the most was what Elder Bednar said. He said “These good people were empowered through the Atonement to act as agents and impact their circumstances.” I feel that this week I learned a lot about acting and not being acted upon, to impact my circumstances given rather than waiting for something to happen.
This week we received a new and wonderful companion Sister A. She is beautiful and everyone says we are twins. She is from Aussie, first Aussie comp! Woot! :) Sister L and I get along so well with her and we are so glad to have her with us. She has such a great knowledge of the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets and it’s like she has been serving for ages, and she just got transferred to be our companion here.
But being with a threesome we are faced with new and different challenges. We have to work out teaching and working with the members so that all three of us can be included. I have had experience with threesomes before but I want this one to be the best. I want to make sure that Sister A has an amazing experience and not just an average trainer, trainee relationship. I want her to be way better than I am before we are done being companions.
This has caused me to do a lot of reflection this week on what I can do to have this be a good relationship. I’ve trained before and done a lot of things, having a lot of experience, but I know this will require new and different ideas. And that is why the quote from Elder Bednar has been so prevalent in my mind this week. I keep feeling that the best thing I can do is impact my circumstances and be an agent for the Lord for this area, and also for my companions. This making sure that I am never to be the one holding us back, but propelling us forward. I need to be confident and always being worthy of the spirit. Having the spirit as my constant companion, and then relying on Him fully.
There have been a few instances that I have been tempted to pull from this, to step back and let them do it all because Satan doesn’t want this companionship to work. But I came across another scripture that really empowered me to continue forward.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
I know that as I continue with faith and confidence in the Lord, He will guide our companionship so that miracles can and will occur and that all our lives will be blessed. God is with us, I know it and I know that He will continue as we live worthy of it.
In my practice as teaching as the Savior taught, we had the pleasure of working with another sister this week, Sister K. She was with us until she received her trainee. Wednesday night after Sister A came, we split off planning to go visit and rescue some less-actives. As we were driving the spirit so strongly prompted me to go and see a member family. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew we needed to go. It was so strong I just couldn’t ignore it. We sat outside trying to figure out what we should share, and Elder Bednar’s talk once again came to mind. We went in to find one member, sick on the couch, having just had an unexpected surgery. A lot of their family is sick right now and they were feeling very burdened down by the load they felt the Lord had asked them to carry. As we spoke of this talk and yoking ourselves with the Savior, this wonderful couple began expressing how much they needed the visit. They were so glad that we had stopped by. They weren’t sure what to do to keep going, but they felt that our visit was an answer to their prayers. I am so grateful that the Lord would prompt us to visit them and help them. I love this family and it was hard to see them struggle but I’m so glad that we were able to help them and fill their need.
I had another really powerful experience this week, sitting in sacrament meeting. I was thinking about our teaching pool and how we didn’t really have anyone next on the escalator progressing towards baptism. We have people who can and will be in August, but just not now and I wasn’t sure the path the Lord wanted us to take. I wanted so badly to be aligned with Bishop and with President Howes, and the Lord but I didn’t know what do to. As the sacrament was being passed on the boys came and brought me a note. I was sitting at the piano and it was from Bishop and he asked us to go and sit with a sister in the back. She wants us to help her son to be baptized, but we haven’t really been able to catch her and make things happen. But as I read this note I looked back and saw her and her son sitting there. As I saw them the Spirit said to me that this boy, her son, is ready for baptism and will be who we should be working with right now. I felt the spirit so strongly and I began to pray with such a grateful and humble heart. The Lord blessed them to come to Church and feel the peace and spirit there. It was such a powerful experience to me, witnessing that the Lord is aware of us and he will put those who are prepared in our path.
I have been pondering a lot this week, how I feel about the mission thus far. A lot of things have come to my mind. Things I have learned, ways I have changed, how others lives have changed and how I have been able to come closer to my Heavenly Father then ever before. But something that really stuck out to me was how often I have learned the lesson that this work is the Lord’s work and not my own work. I have come to change my thinking of it being “my mission” to the Lord’s mission that he is letting me serve. I have watched beloved missionaries go home this week, to watching Sister A be brand new and already be so amazing. I know that the Lord has specific plans and paths for all of us and he sends us to the field when he wants us to serve to build up His kingdom. He calls the shots and we are His agents to help all of His children to come unto Him.
The times when I have felt the greatest peace and joy is when I have been living this and giving all the glory to God. Sometimes He has had to remind me that it wasn’t me, but His power that was helping His children to come unto Him.
119 For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people.
I feel so grateful and so privileged that the Lord has let me witness His power in this work. Before my mission I didn’t really understand that, I didn’t understand how the Lord worked, and I still don’t. But something I do know is that He wants all of His children back with Him and He will do whatever it takes to get them there. Whether that means calling a not so humble, sister from Utah with blonde hair and blue eyes to serve in Australia, to become humble and recognize the Lord’s power then so be it. He does what needs to happen for us in our lives, just when it is right. I have come to gain such a testimony of that, and I can’t deny it. I know that God lives, that this is His work and If I’ve learned nothing else then at least I know this. I know that I can do nothing without the loving guidance of my Heavenly Father. I feel so blessed, to be His daughter and to have gained this witness and testimony.
Love you all
Sister Alexis Benjamin