God is so good!

Wow. What a fantastic week full of many mighty miracles.:)
My core experience with God this week was definitely witnessing the baptism. Originally just the two boys were supposed to be baptized but because of lots of faith and prayers, their mom was able to be baptized as well. Wednesday night we were with their family teaching them about the temple and how families can be sealed for time and all eternity. As we were speaking the spirit was really strong. We looked at her and she had tears in her eyes.
We weren’t sure why but we felt to just wait until she was ready to speak. She just looked at us with the deepest look of longing in her eyes and said she wanted so badly to be baptized. She said she had been thinking about all the things we had discussed and taught and how she had felt. She said she believed it whole heartedly, that it was true and she wanted to be baptized. We wanted so badly to say yes. So we talked to our priesthood leaders and made sure it would all be alright and they cleared it and said yes.
She had her interview the next night and she was over the moon!  She just kept saying “I can’t believe I’m getting baptized! I can’t believe it! I’m so lucky!”
Then their baptismal service was absolutely beautiful. The spirit was so strong. I really learned the power in doing what our mission president says about having someone speak after they get baptized waiting for them to get changed. It captures the spirit and invites everyone there to change. There was even a less active lady there who had been contemplating coming back to church and because of the powerful spirit she decided to recommit herself to follow Jesus Christ.
One of my favourite parts of the baptism though was the mom. After she got baptized she looked at us with the biggest smile on her face, her eyes wet with tears. She was so happy! It was powerful to watch. She definitely increased my testimony of the amazing opportunity the Lord gives us to be able to be baptized and become clean, and commit ourselves to follow him. Sister L also sang at the Baptism and it was powerful. We really could feel our Savior’s love as she sang. And I love that our Bishop got up afterwards and bore powerful testimony, with a few tears in his own eyes of the love the Savior had for their family and for all of us.
Witnessing their baptisms makes all the hard times in the field worth it. You just have to work through all those times to be able to witness the miracles.
It reminds me of the scripture in Mosiah 5:7
7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children‍ of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed‍ through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born‍ of him and have become his sons‍ and his daughters.
Now when miracles occur also, the hard times come. This week in my practice as teaching as the Savior taught I learned how important it is to always have constant spiritual nourishment.
We called up a recent convert Saturday night to see if she would be coming to Church with us the next day. She hadn’t been for a while, because of work and we knew that she really needed to come. And the phone call we had was pretty rough. She has had a really good friend who was very instrumental in her conversion, who has now left the Church. She has been telling her all these things about the Church, that she knows are wrong, but because she is such a good friend it has been hurting her testimony. WE spent about an hour on the phone speaking with her and trying to reassure her, bearing testimony and telling her how much we loved her, and how much Heavenly Father loved her, and even her less active friend. When we hung up my heart felt heavy and I really wanted to help her, but I knew I couldn’t do much else.
Sister L and I knelt down and prayed for quite sometime asking Heavenly Father to watch over her and bless her, and of course for His will to be accomplished. We asked what we should do and the path that we should take. I felt the strongest prompting that “this too shall pass.” I was reminded of all the trials she went through and the times she went cold before her baptism, but she was able to overcome it and she will be able to overcome this as well.
We sent a text to all the ward members and tried to unify all our efforts in support of her. And unfortunately she didn’t come to Church the next day. But the miracle happened when our wonderful Ward Mission Leader went over with the Elders and was so bold and loving with her. She was very cold as they entered but after the power of the spirit she came back to her old self again. She shared all her concerns and they were able to testify of the truth and help her to understand why these things were happening. I felt peace in my heart, knowing that the ward loves her, and will support her. That it doesn’t have to just be the missionaries but the members will sustain our beautiful sister and friend.
I found this experience interesting because all week I had been studying from the war chapters in the Book of Mormon and contemplating a lot of various things that really had stood out to me. And I found it very comparable to this situation.
In Alma 50:23-25
23 But behold there never was a happier‍ time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges
 24 And it came to pass that the twenty and second year of the reign of the judges also ended in peace; yea, and also the twenty and third year.
 25 And it came to pass that in the commencement of the twenty and fourth year of the reign of the judges, there would also have been peace among the people of Nephi had it not been for a contention‍ which took place among them concerning the land of Lehi, and the land of Morianton, which joined upon the borders of Lehi; both of which were on the borders by the seashore.
This is after a battle they had had with the Lamanites and it was finished and they had peace. The Nephites were all working together. And as it says in verse 23 that there were never a happier people.
But then in verse 25, Satan opens the door just a tiny bit, and brings contention in. And it goes on in the scriptures to talk about how this destroys one very powerful leader of the Nephites, because he lets Satan in.
I learned that even the most righteous can be taken out if we aren’t careful. We have to be constant, like Moroni, and be working to build, and rebuild, our spiritual protections, so that we are never unaware when Satan comes in and tempts us.
Because she had not been coming to Church for a little while  she has been weak, but because of our powerful Ward Mission Leader,  who I compare to an honourable Moroni, she was able to come back around. She wasn’t lost, but helped back onto the right course.
And just as it speaks of later when the 2000 stripling warriors come to the rescue, so did our ward in her time of need. The war chapters are a great example to how we should be always ready and prepared for whatever comes our way.
Alma 53:20-21
20 And they were all young men, and they were exceedingly valiant for courage, and also for strength and activity; but behold, this was not all—they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.
 21 Yea, they were men of truth and soberness, for they had been taught to keep the commandments of God and to walk uprightly before him.
 What is the best thing I’ve learned from my companion? My goodness, where could I even begin…Sister L is amazing. She has been such a blessing in my life. I have learned so much from her. She has so many powerful Christ like attributes, that I strive to emulate as well.
One thing I have learned from her is to be quick to accept others and love others for who they are and the potential they have to become like our Heavenly Father. She also is so quick to forgive. I can’t even begin to count all the crazy things that have happened to us and to her, and she just gives her heart and forgives, she loves them and that’s what changes people. We teach together and she never forgets to mention how much we love them. It always is a good reminder to me of how much the Savior and our Heavenly Father love us.  If she can love so deeply it can and must only be coming in and through our Savior Jesus Christ.
 I know that God is aware of all of us. He is mindful of our situations and he desires to help us and bless us. I know that with His help miracles occur everywhere. I am so grateful to be serving the Lord full time and to be able to have come to know and understand His plan for my life, even if just a little bit more. I love this work. I love serving the Lord. I love being a missionary!
Love you all
Sister Benjamin


Conversion and Consecration

Alexis will be home in 2 1/2 weeks!  She is speaking in our ward on Sept. 14th at 1:00pm. Can't believe it is almost here!
 My core experience with God this week was studying, pondering and witnessing the miracle of conversion. As my mission winds down and comes to a close, I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on the time I’ve spent in the Lord’s service. I was praying one morning before my studies that the Lord would lead me to what he wanted me to know.
I began studying for a lesson that day and I was reading the Bible Dictionary on conversion. What stood out to me was that conversion is a step we choose to take to consciously accept the Lord’s will. But true conversion only comes after much trial and testing, and that it is  NOBLE task to labor for your own and others conversion.
This then led me to think about all the amazing conversions I’ve been able to witness throughout my mission and how that has completely changed and helped bring about my own conversion. Because all the conversions I’ve witnessed have not come easily and it has been an absolute fight, but it has all been worth it.
I had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament meeting and I felt to speak about conversion, and how our conversion only comes as we strive to help others deepen their conversion. It was then and there that I had one of the sweetest experiences to count up to this point. As I looked out over the beautiful people in Hassall Grove ward I felt such immense love from our Heavenly Father for them, and the best part of it all was that I felt His love and acceptance of me and that he had accepted my service as a missionary. It was a very powerful experience, one that I am so grateful for. As this was happening tears started to just flow freely from my eyes and I could tell it touched others too, because many faces were wet with tears.
Later I found this scripture that really touched my heart.
1 John 2:8
 8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which‍ thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness‍ is past, and the true light‍ now shineth.
 I felt the Lord confirming to me that the choices and things I’d done before were in the past, the darkness was gone, and now the true light of the Savior could shine through my countenance.
 In my experience as teaching as Jesus Taught, we were following up with a referral we had received a couple of weeks ago. WE had tried to contact her on various occasions but it never seemed to work. But it’s because God had other plans and he wanted us to meet her at just the right time. We were following up with a couple of our investigators before our appointment that evening and the strongest prompting came to us to call our referral. We acted immediately and called her up. She answered the phone! Which is the first time she has in how many weeks now? We spoke for a little while and asked when she would be home so that we could drop off the DVD. She said she was home the rest of the day.
So we quickly changed our plans and raced over there. She let us in and began to tell us this whole story of how she came to find the pass along card and request the DVD. She said she had been waiting for a call all day from an old friend but they had never gotten to her, but that we were the next best thing. The spirit was definitely on a high at multiple points in our visit. She fully accepted to take the lessons and we are seeing her again next week. She said she had felt down and that she really needed some light and peace in her life. We were able to testify to her and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was exactly what she needed.
I was also studying this week about the war chapters in Alma. Can I just say how much I love them. They are rich with doctrine and principle and so many wonderful blessings and promises. I just love it!  I was really trying as did President Eyring, to drink deeply from the Book of Mormon and I was reading about Amalikiah and his wicked ways.
One verse in particular stuck out to me.
Alma 47:4
4 Now behold, this was the desire of Amalickiah; for he being a very subtle‍ man to do evil therefore he laid the plan in his heart to dethrone‍ the king of the Lamanites.
I began to ponder upon the phrase plan of his heart, and really trying to understand how it could be the desire of your heart, a truly deep desire to do evil and to choose wickedness over happiness.
It led me to think about my own heart and if I really had a heart like unto God’s own heart, or some other way.  When I finish my mission will I be one to say “my heart had a great experience,” (Eccl 1:16) or that my heart was weighed down with much sorrow and grief.
I feel that for our heart to have great experiences we must be connected with the Lord, on His side completely, and not some other way. It takes a different level of consecration to be able to have great heart felt experiences. And I think that is what a mission is all about. We can have those great experiences as we go through our perfectly set 18 months-2years of service, to shape us into the people God wants us to be. But only if we choose so.
We can have the plan in our hearts to be to follow God or to follow Satan, and following God is what will get us sprinting to the finish line and beyond.
I read another verse in Alma that really stood out to me.
Alma 43:44-45
44 And they were inspired by the Zoramites‍ and the Amalekites, who were their chief captains and leaders, and by Zerahemnah, who was their chief captain, or their chief leader and commander; yea, they did fight like dragons, and many of the Nephites were slain by their hands, yea, for they did smite in two many of their head-plates, and they did pierce many of their breastplates, and they did smite off many of their arms; and thus the Lamanites did smite in their fierce anger.
 45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better‍ cause, for they were not fighting‍ for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.
Was I fighting for this great cause like the Lamanites or the Nephites? I felt to say for a better cause! I know why I am here, to serve the Lord and to invite others to come unto Christ. I’m not perfect, nor has my service been that of perfection, or anywhere near it, but it has been what God wanted it to be for me.
I have felt his loving and inspired guidance on many occasions and I know it is only because of His help that I have been able to do any of this.
I’m so grateful for this beautiful opportunity and I know that as I continue to serve the Lord now and later, that the plan and desire of my heart, will be to consecrate my life and my all to His will and His way.


Aug. 11, 2014

What a wonderful week full of miracles. 
My first miracle to share is also my core experience with God. It’s just wonderful. Heavenly Father really did bless us this week. He really is so good to us.
A family that I mentioned last week, who were so ready and prepared to receive the Gospel just kept being amazing this week.
On Monday night after p-day we went over to their house to have family home evening. We taught about the Godhead. This family has Hindi background so they don’t understand much so we decided to start from the basics. Ahh they are wonderful. They picked it up so fast and they really were loving all the things we talked about. We spoke of the Savior and how the greatest invitation he gives us is to follow him. WE felt then and there to invite them to be baptized for the 23rd of this month. The 2 boys readily accepted the invitation and they were super excited.
In another lesson we had with them this week, the mother asked us about the Holy Ghost. We spoke just briefly about the spirit and she began to tell us that she had been feeling the spirit especially in her prayers. Ahh!  She and both her boys believe the Church is true and they love it.
Another wonderful miracle with them is that they all came to Church on Sunday. The younger of the 2 boys, came running up to us after Sunday school and said they had just learned about Baptisms for the Dead, and he loved it. He said he wants to come every week now!
I love this family. They truly are heaven sent. We sat down, Sister L and I setting goals for the transfer and we prayed readily for the Lord to bless us with someone to teach and lead to baptism, preferably a family. And he blessed us! This family is wonderful and I know that it is only because of the love and grace of Heavenly Father that they are so ready and prepared to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I think for me this week the greatest barrier for me to become more of the missionary that God wants me to be, was thinking that we could make a choice on our own, without the Lord's input. We had some things this week that we needed to work out with the area, and we were trying to make decisions and it just wasn’t going very well. We had reached a point where we thought we could go no further, and then the thought came to our minds to pray and ask the Lord for his guidance. I think sometimes when we get so far we just think we can do something on our own. We’ve been taught and given the knowledge we need, but it was a great lesson for me this week to remember that no matter what is going on, I should be ‘counseling with the Lord in all my doings.”
As we continued the Lord blessed us and everything worked out perfectly, for what seemed to be a big problem to us was easily fixed by Heavenly Father and it just made things so much easier.
It really helped to change my perspective on our relationship with God and I found a couple of quotes this week that I absolutely loved.
“God exists in the world. He exists wherever men let him in. Perhaps it is only humble men, men in search of him, men with great need of him, who really let him in. And God comes to such men not only because of their great need for him, but also because of his great need for them as his allies in the divine task of creating a better world, a better human society, a real kingdom of God.”  -P.A. Christensen
“ You know always in your heart that you need God more than anything else. But do you know too that God needs you…in the fullness of eternity he needs you?” –Martin Buber.
This week I felt so humbled to really see that I was needed in this great work, not only to build the Lord’s kingdom, but so the Lord could build me. This is his divine plan and without us it isn’t possible. We are imperfect and we need to change and grow with his help and it is a blessing to think that someone as powerful as God, would actually desire to help us, to be with us and to strengthen us in our time of need.
In Deuteronomy 4:29-31 it reads
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek‍ the Lord‍ thy God, thou shalt find him,‍ if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
 30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even‍ in the latter days, if thou turn‍ to the Lord‍ thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
 31 (For the Lord‍ thy God is‍ a merciful‍ God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant‍ of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
 I have been so blessed this week to remember that it is only really this service as a missionary that I have been able to come to know how to seek the Lord with all my heart and soul. I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity the Lord blessed me with to serve and help to bring others unto Christ.

Love you All
Sister Benjamin


The Hope of God's Light

What a wonderful miracle filled week.
I think for a lot of my mission I have been seeking the true joy and happiness the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings. At the beginning of my mission, (just in case you couldn’t tell I’m still not perfect..) I was trying to find it while still searching in the world. While still being Natural, which we all know never works. My pride was heavy and my humility very far away. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week, and I realized the humility cycle that the Lord puts me on. I know there is such a thing as the Pride cycle but I like to call it the humility cycle because then it makes me feel that I’m getting closer to Heavenly Father instead of further away from him.
I learned a lot about humility this week, but I think in a different way then I normally would. I was thinking about all the ways that I wanted to be different when I come home. I want to be a strong steward for the Lord for the rest of my life. I want/need to be a righteous daughter of God, to be worthy of the future family that I will have one day. I want to help my family, all of us, to return to the Celestial Kingdom, never being the one holding us back but propelling us forward. I want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and I want to live as He lived and overcome the Natural Man. I don’t want to be of the world, in the world, but not run over by the world.
But sometimes I find that I’m still short-sighted. I fall into the trap of desiring to be here, and having things of the world, more than the Saviour. But I have to remember that with the Saviour is true joy, happiness and everlasting life.  I think I really do have good intentions and as we know God looks on the heart, not our outward appearance. And I know that I can repent again and again and be forgiven as long as the Master still says there is time left.
I watched a Mormon Message this week about the story of Todd Sylvester. I have really been thinking about this a lot. He was born in 1968 to a family, with good intentions, but no belief in God. He grew up a worldly man, with great skill in basketball which recruited him with scholarships to play at great and high places. Until it all came crashing down 4 years later, and he wanted to end his life. He was in the cafeteria at school and he heard 2 girls talking about fasting and prayer and he asked them about it and decided to try it. He begged God to show himself, and he went without drugs, and alcohol for the first time in his life. But he said nothing happened, but he didn’t want to end his life anymore. A few weeks later a long lost friend, called and said he wanted to meet up with him. They got together and this friend told Todd, that God had spoken and He needed Todd on His side today. Todd realized that this was God speaking to him. And so for a year and a half he desperately tried to overcome his addictions. He attended Church and got invited to a ward picnic. And as he sat, they wanted to bless the Hot Dogs which Todd thought very strange. But he decided to anyway. And that’s when the miracle happened. As he sat there listening to that pray over the food, there is where his answer came. He said 2 years later, 733 days later, God had spoken to him and gave him what he desired. He was surrounded by darkness and he was only RELEASED when he HUMBLED himself to pray over the hot dogs. He found the hope of God’s light.
This story impacted me. Humility is a pursuit I’m always trying to attain. I dreamed a while ago about being at home and it felt strange to me. I was doing things I’d used to do, and they were seeming to take precedence over all the things I’d learned as a missionary. The spirit left and I woke up with my heart racing. (Talk about change of life, waking up because the spirit left) I thought about it, and realized that I need to make sure that I was always humble enough to put God first in my life, above all else. And it’s not to say that things at home are bad, I just needed to make sure that they don’t get in the way of my humble seeking of the Lord.
In 2 Nephi 9:28-29
28 O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
 29 But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.
 Elder Marion D. Hanks said
“It is not enough, is it, to know the scriptures about prayer or the motions of prayer or the words of prayer. The man who will not humble himself, really humble himself, before the Lord, ‘receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.’ Wrote Paul, ‘for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ (1 Cor 2:14) The truths of eternal life, a prophet has written ‘are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him and purify themselves before him; to whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves.” (D&C 76:116-117)
Heavenly Father knew this battle I would face in life and he has and will continue to help me overcome and humble myself before him. But what he has done, is given me the opportunity to choose to be humble. I certainly have had opportunities that have humbled me, but it always is better when we choose to be humble. Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to choose to serve a mission. I felt prompted that I could go if I chose to, and I did choose too. And it has completely changed me. I have become such a different person and things that hadn’t usually stuck out to me as important, are so important now.
Someone I love very much wrote this to me last week. “ I know that you are giving all that you have to the Lord – keeping moving forward and sprinting past the finish line. Your mission will propel you toward experiences that you otherwise would not have known or perhaps cared about. You are armed with all that you need to be a great light in this world and true disciple of Christ. This is just the beginning to an extraordinary eternity for you.”
This really made me think about what a blessing it has been for me to learn about humility and learn to really put God first in my life. It has been such a wonderful learning experience, that hasn’t been easy, but it has been so worth it.
I hope that makes sense. I just know that God is aware of me, that His plan is perfect and that I can do nothing but turn to him and become like him.
In my experience as teaching as Jesus taught we met a beautiful family this week. One who is the brother of a member in the ward. We met their family and it was amazing. They truly are so prepared for the Gospel. We sat down with them and began chatting about the Gospel and their lives at what stage they are at. She told us though that her son’s baptism is a high priority on their list. This is just wonderful. She said herself that she is done partying and she is ready to change. We were able to testify of the Book of Mormon and the Savior and the change that comes through the Gospel and it’s like they were just eating out of our hands. I love when people are so anxious and willing to have the Gospel in their life. They just know they need it and it fills the hole they didn’t know was there.
My feelings of the Savior are very difficult to describe in a few short words, but I’ll do my best.
Jesus Christ, is my advocate with the Father. He is my exemplar, brother, and friend, one who I’m desperately trying to know more, to love more and be just like him.
I know that my Savior lives. I know he loves me and all of us. I know that without him I would be nothing, but with him I can do all things. I know that his Atonement is real, that it envelopes everything and can help us overcome any problem, addiction, mistake, and sin.
I love this Gospel. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I’m so grateful to serve him and bear his name.