Love You All!

What a wonderful week. I learned so much and it has been great.
My core experience with God this week was seeing a beautiful girl get baptized. Their family has been very less active for a long time. We had started visiting them because we saw they had a daughter who wasn’t baptized. It seemed that in their family the Dad was the leader of the home, but he wasn’t the priesthood holder of the home. So we would teach their daughter and she would be so excited to get baptized but then her Dad wouldn’t let it go through. A couple of weeks back Bishop had told us that the child of record baptism was on the 19 and that we should try to get her along for that. We prayed so hard before that she would be able to and that her Dad would be ready to baptize her and get things moving.
We taught them and then the spirit so strongly told us to invite their family. As we did so we looked at her and she was so excited, but then we looked at the Dad. He had a really concerned look on his face and we didn’t want to push him so we waited in silence. After about 5 minutes he looked at us and said that he would prepare both himself, and his daughter to be ready by the 19th. It was a marvelous moment.  The spirit was so strong I felt so blessed to have been able to witness that miracle.
On Saturday as she had her baptism she looked beautiful and as she was baptized the spirit was powerful and I could feel such a strong love for her and her Dad from Heavenly Father. The spirit burned in my heart and I knew that God was pleased with their choice to be worthy and for her to get baptized. 
My experience as Teaching as the Savior taught has really impacted me this week. Lately I have been praying to be in exactly the place the Lord wants me to be, and asking to be worthy to be there. We have had many experiences where we have been in exactly the right place at the right time. It has strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father does hear and answer prayers and that He knows His children.
On Saturday night we felt strongly to go visit one of the Less-Active sisters in the ward to invite her to come to Church. But as we were walking up to her door we saw a young mother and her toddler son standing outside their house. It was really dark, and quite cold, but they were just sitting on the steps. WE said hello as we passed by but then we kept talking to her. We found out she had been locked out of her house. Hmm..imagine that! We continued talking to her and she had never heard of the Church before. She believed in God but she didn’t know where to go for Church. WE told her about our services and she was so interested. She asked us if she could come and if she could bring her son with her. Of course! We encourage families to come. She was so excited. I knew the Lord placed us in exactly the right place at the right time.
Another experience was with my first convert baptism? Well she had been on my mind quite a bit lately. She hadn’t been to the temple since she got baptized and I wanted to help that process move along. As I was praying the other night she and the temple just kept coming to mind. I wasn’t sure why or what I could do to help her but I prayed that I would be able to help her in some way. On Sunday before Church we were walking up and she came walking out. (Just as a side note, recently she moved into a ward that goes to the same chapel we do) She had a tear stained red face, and I immediately was concerned. WE ran up to her and we chatted for a little while and she told us the good and bad news. She had been having some family problems and she was really struggling, but the good news what that she had just gotten her temple recommend!  YAY! She said she went to the grounds yesterday and that she felt the spirit strongly there, and that she couldn’t wait to go in.
I felt sorry for her and all the trials she was going through. She kept asking why she couldn’t get a break, why she had to keep going through all these things. But because of the guidance of the spirit we were able to testify of the blessings that will come to her as she faithfully keeps her covenants. We were able to promise her blessings through her faith, and it was a really powerful experience. She said she couldn’t wait to go to the temple and I can’t wait for her to go either.
I know the Lord guided us to be there at exactly the right time to help her to be at peace and ease her in her suffering. It was a blessing for me because of the great relationship we have, she was able to open up to me and allowed me to help her. I’m so grateful for the spirit in guiding our every footstep. It is a wonderful blessing.
Now as for my greatest fear in missionary work, I think at the beginning of my mission I was more afraid of losing myself in coming on a mission. I felt like the biggest part of my identity was the things of the world and I was scared about letting that go. But the Lord knew and saw otherwise and has really helped me to see that I can only find who I really am in the Gospel. I think my biggest fear now would be, not being able to live up to my potential, and the plan that God has for me.
 At times I feel very inadequate, okay most of the time. I feel that the work the Lord asks of me is beyond my faith and ability to do. But of course these feelings never come from God. He never places fear in our hearts. Something that I have learned that helps me to overcome this is being vulnerable. I think  a big reason that I get scared is thinking I will get hurt, or that it will be more than I can handle and that I will fail. I sometimes fail to start things because I want to succeed and I want God to be pleased with me. Being vulnerable has helped me, because I have learned through experience that the only way I can ever accomplish what the Lord asks is by going forward, with the eye of faith and trusting that the Lord will help me and that I will do as His plan is.
As I am vulnerable I feel the spirit on a much deeper level, that I can’t if I’m not willing to move forward, or try to do what the Lord asks. But it also makes the sad, hard, and bad, moments even harder to handle because I am so open. But I have learned that it helps me so much more. I learn so much more from the trials and things that I face.
It makes me think of a scripture in Mosiah  4:11-12
11 And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted‍ of his love, and have received a remission‍ of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness‍ and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling‍ on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly‍ in the faith of that which is to come, which was spoken by the mouth of the angel.
  12 And behold, I say unto you that if ye do this ye shall always rejoice, and be filled with the love‍ of God, and always retain‍ a remission of your sins; and ye shall grow in the knowledge‍ of the glory of him that created you, or in the knowledge of that which is just and true.
I know that for me compared to God I am nothing, and I have no strength to even accomplish the things here. But to God I am everything, and as I acknowledge His greatness and my nothingness, my humility before him, I am changed. I become like him and I can be filled with His love.
I overcome this fear of falling short, by realizing that the only way I can stop falling short is by having the Lord’s help, having full faith and trust in him, and becoming a Disciple of Christ.
I have evaluated my fears this week and I have tried to come to understand what the Lord has wanted me to learn and this is what I have learned. That I need to be vulnerable and humble before him, and He will direct me and help me to keep the faith.
I’m grateful for the loving guidance of my Heavenly Father and I am grateful for the blessing this mission has been to me in my life.
Love you!
Sister Benjamin


High Tide!

Some well used scriptures!
Hello my beautiful family and friends! 

This week has been a wonderful week. I feel like one of the fastest of my mission thus far. I can’t believe how fast the time is going.

My core experience with God for the week was certainly the beautiful fireside our ward put on last night. There are two older ladies who come to everyone fireside and they call themselves “fireside junkies.” I think I would say the same now. Our ward has put on 2 in the last couple of weeks and they both have been beautiful. But this one last night was by far my favourite. The spirit was SO STRONG. I didn’t want it to end. Many  of the people in the audience were in tears through out the whole night.

It was a missionary fireside so the ward mission leader and us as the missionaries organized it. I felt pretty stressed about the whole thing. In the beginning everything seemed great but then all the musical numbers kept cancelling! Ah! But it worked out beautifully the night of. The members worked with us so well and they were happy to help. We had a group of mid singles just happening to be practicing in the chapel that night that offered to sing. They are Maori and so is our bishop so he sang along with them and it was GREAT! 

One of my favourite parts though was when R got up and bore her testimony. She shared her conversion story with us, and it melted everyone’s heart. She spoke of some of the trials her family has been facing, but she said the thing that got her through was reading the Book of Mormon and praying. She said she knows that it’s true, and that this Church is true.  I couldn’t help but cry as she spoke. I felt the spirit so strong and I knew the Lord had prepared her for this change in her life.

Another part I loved was when the missionaries got up and we sang I Believe in Christ. I love singing and bearing my testimony at the same time. The spirit was so strong and so many people were in tears. I couldn’t look at them because then I would just start bursting with my own tears. It was a beautiful experience. I love being a missionary and having this sacred calling. Knowing that I wear the Lord’s name on my heart and that I can represent him, it’s just a beautiful experience.  

Another really amazing point was at the end when Bishop and the Stake President were giving their closing remarks. Bishop got up and was in tears. The ward here has changed so much in the last 8 months. The Ward council and members are working so well with us and things are really moving forward. You could see the joy in his eyes as he expressed the Love he had for us. When he sat down I couldn’t help but feel the greatest love and appreciation for having such a wonderful Bishop. He definitely reminds me of my Dad, and seeing the pressure put on his shoulders was hard to watch. But knowing that we are here to lift his burdens and help the work move along makes it all better. He really is a great man, one who I know is called of God right here and now to be leading this ward.

The Stake President spoke last and it was wonderful. One thing I love was that he said that our ward was at high tide. “When it’s high tide all the ships rise.” He spoke of our ward leading in Family History and Temple work and being unified, member to missionary. He is only 48 years old, and he said he has no idea why the Lord called him at this time. But we all know why. He is amazing. He is really aligned with the Brethren and helping the work move forward. He spoke of the Lord needing warriors, stripling warriors. We truly are the Lord’s army working together as one.

You could feel it in that room. The Lord’s work is hastening and we are all a part of it! Ahh!

 My experience as Teaching as Jesus Taught was with a wonderful investigator. We were walking down the street and a man was standing there and he called us over. We began chatting and he asked us who we were and what we were doing. We told him we were missionaries and he said “So what you want me to join your church?” We immediately just said yes. The confidence my companions had was absolutely beautiful. He just laughed and said okay walk with me. So we walked for a while getting to know him and he asked us again…”so you want me to get baptized.” We said yes again, and so he invited us over on Friday. We unfortunately had to miss the appointment but we were able to go back on Saturday.

He was drinking when we got there, which was sad to see. But we began talking and he was talking about all these things, things he didn’t like about Church and why he didn’t want to come. I felt to just bear testimony of the blessings of Church and why he needed to be there. As we did the spirit came in so strong. He felt it and he put his drink under the table. He just stared at me and I could just feel it in my bones. He then said okay. I’ll keep learning. You couldn’t deny that the spirit was there and we knew he felt it as well. Ahh. I love being able to feel the spirit! It’s probably my favourite part about being a missionary.

An experience that I have had over the course of my mission that has really transformed me spiritually is learning about repentance. Before I came out I always thought repentance was more for the big mistakes we make. I would often just say sorry to Heavenly Father and then move on. I had very big misconceptions about the process of repentance. But something that has really shaped me is learning what it means to really repent, to have a change of heart and see God, myself and the world differently.

I’ve learned that as I’ve been able to be so close to the spirit that what repentance is more for me now, is all the little things that poke at my spirit.

President Eyring once said “The good works that really matter require the help of heaven. And the help of heaven requires working past the point of fatigue so far that only the meek and lowly will keep going long enough.”

In Enos 1: 4-8 it says  4 And my soul hungered; and I kneeled‍ down before my Maker, and I cried‍ unto him in mighty prayer‍ and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.

 5 And there came a voice‍ unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven‍ thee, and thou shalt be blessed.

 6 And I, Enos, knew that God could‍ not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.

 7 And I said: Lord, how is it done?

 8 And he said unto me: Because‍ of thy faith‍ in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole.

Because of Enos faith he was able to pray all the day long and all night and because of his effort relying on the powers of Heaven He received a remission of sins.

On my mission it has been hard at times because it seems that the things I struggle with are on a flashing billboard that says here is all of Sister Benjamin’s mistakes.

One of my greatest desires is to be a disciple of Christ and if I just focus on the bad things I start to struggle and feel down, which is not how we should feel. But on my mission I have come to learn that repentance is a gift. It is an opportunity just as was Enos, to kneel down before our maker and cry unto him and pour out our souls as an offering to him. There we come to learn and commune with God, and begin to know on a deeper level who we really are and who we can become.

An example of this was a lesson we had this week with an investigator. We were teaching and the spirit was just not there, we started well but then we started to rely on our words, trying to control the lesson and the spirit just left. I felt so bad. I began to pray to so hard. I knew that the lesson would go no where without the spirit. And because of the prayer of faith the spirit came back and we were able to get back on track. But I knew we had been mistaken and I felt bad. Afterwards we talked about it and we discussed what we could do better to have the spirit with us and It feel so good. As I prayed that night I asked the Lord for his help to guide me to be better able to listen and respond to the spirit and do all that I can to keep it with me at all times.

I felt such a sweet peace afterwards and I felt the Lord’s love for me.

In Jeremiah 31:34 it says

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know‍ me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

I testify that the Lord knows us and through repentance we can come to Know the Lord and that He will forgive us and remember our sin no more!

I love this Gospel and I’m so grateful to be a missionary for this sacred time.

Love you All

Sister Benjamin


July 8, 2014

This week was quite the week. I really feel like I just wrote and now I’m writing again. A few days late mind you because of the temple and then broken computers but all is well now. 
I’ve learned so much in this time and I’ve really felt the hand of the Lord guiding my life. I’m grateful for the constant guidance of the Holy Ghost and the answers to prayers that I have received.
My core experience with God this week was a training that we received in Zone Training Meeting. I feel like this was an exact answer to my prayers. I’d been praying and feeling the weight and responsibility that I had for my area, my companions and the stewardship the Lord blessed us with.
I prayed the night before we went to training that I would know what Heavenly Father would desire me to do, and how I could change to build a better environment in the area right now, to find the balance between the three of us and to work effectively.
What I learned is that I was stumbling because of my over anxiety. In Jacob 4:18 it says
 18 Behold, my beloved brethren, I will unfold this mystery unto you; if I do not, by any means, get shaken from my firmness in the Spirit, and stumble because of my over anxiety for you.
I’d been nervous overwhelmed and I was feeling pressure, and I needed something to change. And what I learned, was just to let go. To let it all go and leave it in the Lord’s hands.
1 Let go of perfectionism-stop trying to make everyone happy. It’s impossible-the Lord does not expect that of me. (Yay I’m a perfectionist. But I’m going to let it go!) 
2. Let go of feelings of over responsibility. No ones success or salvation depends on me.
3 let go of being over zealous( or to eager) Just work diligently
4. Let go of things which have proven impossible. Others agency not mine. Don’t give up to quickly but don’t go on forever.
5 Let go of fear-- fear of pain of the future, give it all to God. Trust in His plan and accept His will.
6 Let go of false beliefs. My worth is not dependent on my accomplishments.
7. Let go of misery. Misery is optional. Sorrow is real. Misery most often comes from stories we tell ourselves. I need to Lean on God and not myself.
8. Let go of self set priorities. Focus on one thing that is needful. Focus on what the Lord wants and being exactly where he wants me to be 100% of the time.
I too often try to control the situation and I want the process to go this certain way, but it’s the Lord's way. I feel that I’ve learned more how to get out of the way with our investigators, I’ve learned to let the Lord lead them and guide them the way He wants them to go and when they are ready they will come.
But I had to learn the same lesson with my companions and with myself. My progression as well as theirs also has to come in the Lord’s time and in His way. As I knelt in prayer I began to thank the Lord for the inspired training received and what it meant for me was to let go of it all. To put the control in the Lord’s hands and let him lead us and guide us by the hand. He has promised me this on countless occasions, I just feel personal responsibility as well. But what I always need to remember is that my level of personal responsibility does not fall into the category of things that are impossible. I can’t change other people I can only change myself. And that is all the Lord asks of me.
I know the Lord is there for me at all times, and in all things. And as long as I open my heart, and mind to him, he will be there.
In my experience as teaching as Jesus Taught I learned more of the potential that the Lord has for all his children, and the way He prepares them for their future responsibilities in building the kingdom of God.
We were given a referral this week from a wonderful member. She had a Samoan family that she wanted us to visit and get in contact with. Her thought was more for the parents, but the Lord had other plans. When we knocked on the door an 18 year old boy opened the door and immediately let us in. Hmm. Interesting, but alright we will go in.  We sat down with him and started talking, getting to know him a little bit better and asking him of his basic beliefs and things. He is a very strong family man, he feels his responsibility is to care for his family and he would do anything at all for his family. As we were talking the strongest impression from the spirit came to me to ask him if he had any desire to serve a mission. I thought it was a bit different because he was catholic and all other things, but I decided to listen to the spirit. I asked him afterwards and he said he would love to, but he was afraid of the rejection he would face. He listed a lot of other concerns and they were all very similar to how most of us feel before we begin our service. We testified to him then and there that if  he served he would have the power of God on his side. He looked really content with that and he looked more at peace. I knew that the Lord desired this boy, who was only 18 to serve a mission and to serve with power and great faith.
I felt so much love for him and I really wanted to help him to get to that point to show the world that He knew the Lord. 
Something else I learned this week form Zone Training Meeting really strengthened my faith in the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We focused a lot in the training about why we should teach the restoration and focus on teaching it to everyone.  We were committed to do so and so my companions and I decided to start only teaching the restoration with all we met. My goodness it has made a whole world of difference.
We practiced and role played over and over, teaching short and powerful statements with the three of us, and because we practiced the Lord blessed us with opportunities to teach.
In a period of about 2 hours, we found a lot of new investigators, 1 of which is a huge family who has a great desire to learn and progress in the Gospel. 
I found that as I shared the Restoration, and testified of it’s truth I learned so much. The spirit was stronger in our companionship and people were looking at us differently and responding in ways more powerful, then before.
I felt though that it was like a restoration of truth in my own life. I look at Joseph Smith and how the truth was restored to him in the sacred grove. He saw God the father and Jesus Christ. The truth was given back to him that he had once learned but didn’t have at the time. And that is what the Lord does for each of us, if we but ask.
In D&C 46:7 it reads.
7 But ye are commanded in all things to ask‍ of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness‍ of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering‍ the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced‍ by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments‍ of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
Joseph Smith asked God and he gave him liberally all the truth he was seeking. And he took the Gospel and shared it to all the world, and it is still happening today. We are going forth as the Lord’s army restoring the truths that have been lost and given them the light and knowledge they need.
D&C 105:31
31 But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified‍ before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations;
I feel so blessed to be part of this work in this day and age. I know without doubt in mind that Heavenly Father is our Father. He lives, and Jesus Christ is His only Begotten son. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom on the earth and I’m grateful to be a part of this Hastening.
Love you All
Sister Benjamin


June 30, 2014

My core experience with God this week was trying to figure out how I could better internalize my purpose. I feel like for my mission it has been a process that I have been going through to be inner directed. And sometimes it feels like I really am, but then other times there is the temptation to think otherwise. As I began this process of evaluation this week, I was directed to many different aspects of my efforts as a missionary. But something that kept coming forward was whether my desire was to be selfless, or selfish. I read a talk by William R. Bradford, Selflessness Versus Selfishness. This talk really struck me and helped me to see where my desires need to be at.
He said “Selfishness is the basic substance-the raw material, if you will, out of which is produced almost all other sins that Satan has introduced upon the earth. Under his skillful management this insidious element manifests itself in such a myriad of ways that almost no one escapes its influence. Its magnetic tentacles stretch out and draw to itself every indulgence that can block man on his quest for exaltation.”
I learned that one of the things that selfishness does is, it stops us from internalizing our purpose. Part of this life is learning to give of ourselves more and more and until we can no longer give any more. For me this week I felt that a big reason the Lord sent me on my mission was to overcome my attitude of self.
I had a marvelous moment when I realized the Lord desired me to serve, and so I went. And this battle of selfishness is something I’ve been going through for my mission.
William R. Bradford also said “The only way given in heaven and upon earth whereby man may be sanctified is in the service of others. Every requirement that God’s plan for our salvation places upon us is based in the giving of ourselves. Having the spirit of selflessness, men and women share themselves, their talents, and their means in benevolent service to mankind and to God. Their reward is the freeing of their soul, the growth of their love, nearness to Divinity, and worthiness for the companionship of the Spirit.”
The Lord sent me on my mission so that I could become sanctified by giving of myself and learning that this life is not about me, but about building up His kingdom. As I’ve come to realize this my mission has gotten easier, I’ve realized that as I really am here to invite others to come unto Christ, then I do begin to forget myself. I’ve realized that I really have come to forget myself, and go to work and then I’ve been able to truly be happy. And I feel that when we are truly happy then we’ve internalized the purpose of this life, as well as the purpose of missionary service.
When I served with Sister Lloyd, her greatest desire was to serve everyone else and it really helped me to change, and when I was serving with her I felt like it was the happiest I had ever been because we were focusing on everyone else.
The Lord blessed me to see it this week that my selfish desires have been able to be placed at the back, and my selfless desire is at the front of my mind. It’s easier for me to want to put others first instead of myself.
William R. Bradford said “If you would be truly happy, these acts must be acts of selflessness. Selflessness will turn sadness into a cheerful countenance. Selflessness produces kindness and dispels hypocrisy. Selflessness develops love, confidence and trust. It is the vehicle of generosity. It is the resource God uses to answer the prayers of His children. With selflessness we demonstrate our true relationship and intimacy with the Savior. It is the link that binds together the family of God.”
The answer I received from the Lord was that for me to really internalize my purpose and be happy was to be completely selfless and focus on the needs of others and then everything else will fall into place. I loved the part that said that selflessness is the resource God uses to answer our prayers and if that’s what He does, then you better bet I’m going to do all I can to become as He is. :)
Another powerful experience this week was being able to see a recent convert enter in the temple and do Baptisms for the Dead. She, this whole week, was saying how accepted and loved she felt. That she could go to the temple, because she never thought she would be able to, or at least so soon. She said after the experience she came home and she felt so strongly that she needed to do baptisms for her family who have passed on and get their work done. It is such a pleasing feeling when you see recent converts really get excited to do the work of the Lord. I love her so much! 
Sacrament meeting this week was wonderful. Before hand we invited many people to Church, and initially they all said yes. But as we got to Church basically everyone who had committed either texted us or called us telling us, I’ve got this going on and all this other stuff. We didn’t want to be discouraged, and we knew these people needed to progress. As I sat waiting at the piano for Sacrament to start, I began saying a silent prayer in my heart. I asked Heavenly Father why this had happened and what He wanted me to learn from this. As I looked up I saw one of the families we have been working with in the ward. They have had a pretty rough week and we’ve been praying for them constantly. As I looked at them I saw their cousin, a non member, with them. He has been one we have been trying to have lessons with for basically the whole time we’ve been here. And miracle, he showed up to Church! He had been invited by the boys in the ward and He decided to come. I felt so blessed by the Lord, that even though we had invited so many and they didn’t come, the Lord still blessed him to come. He loved it and he even stayed for the fireside in the evening. It really witnessed to me that God does answer prayers and he does always provide for our needs as we do everything we can.
I love you all! Thank you for being such a great support to me!
I know this Church is true.
Sister Benjamin