Happy Thursday family and friends! I am amazed at how fast this week has felt! I think they keep us so busy here that we sometimes forget what day it is haha. With each new day I am one step closer to Poland. I have been learning alot lately about the Polish holidays and the culture. I am especially excited for Saints Day and Christmas! Saints Day is November 1st and it is basically the Day of the Dead. Our teacher told us that they fill the streets with all of these beautiful glass lanterns that are all super unique! She said that you can't even walk because there are so many of them everywhere, I hear that it is beautiful! We have received alot of advice for our missions as well. We are told often to dive into the culture and to just simply ENJOY our mission! I think that we will see so much success as we embrace and participate in the culture. It just makes spreading the gospel a more natural and intimate experience. This week is our halfway point for being at the MTC! We have just over 4 weeks left! Haha we always joke that we are the veterans or the "great graddaddies" of the MTC because we are the oldest. It's great because we are able to help so many new missionaries who are struggling. Not to say we don't have our fair share of struggles, but we know how the initial entry into missionary life is! I am grateful for the opportunity! I want to share some special experience from this week, and I hope that the Spirit will direct my thoughts.
This week I feel that I have learned a great deal about humility and the ways in which the Holy Ghost works in us. This last Tuesday we heard from Bishop Caussć. He and his wife are from France. They taught about what makes a missionary a bold missionary. It was powerful. A bold missionary is a missionary who is obedient, joyful, consecrated, and who repents daily.
After this week I have learned a valuable lesson... There is a difference between a cocky missionary and a missionary that is ambitious for Christ. I will not set a limit on my abilities that the Lord has provided for me. I will set my goals and my sights high. Baptism is not an unrealistic goal, not even for Europe. I just saw it happen this week. I count on baptizing people that I teach, the Lord works in his ways and I trust in His plan. It does not help a missionary when someone says well Europe is a mission where there are 0 baptisms, good luck! Or wow 9 weeks in the MTC, that's brutal! What does that do to a missionary? Don't rain on the Lords parade! When we say things like that, I do not believe that it demonstrates our faith in our Heavenly Father! If only we could all know of the plans of God. The hearts and the minds of the children of men would never be the same. I can do nothing save it be by humility and obedience so that the lord can help consecrate my efforts. When we put the Lord first, when we consecrate our time, thoughts, and actions to the Lord, that is when miracles happen. The Lord knows who needs the Gospel. The Lord knows who is ready. I know that the Gospel will penetrate every heart upon the face of the earth. The Lord promises that in the first chapter of the Doctrine and Covenants. How could I pass up anyone on the street without helping to fulfill the prophecy of the Lord? I must fulfill my role as his servant so that I can be found blameless before my God at the last day. I know that challenges await... I know that hard days will continue to come. I know that Poland is not the same as the MTC. But you know what is the same? The Lord and his promises to his children as they seek to serve him with all of their hearts might mind and strength. He will never leave us. He is with you always... you need only be there for him. With a humble heart and an ambitious spirit.
This week I taught several lessons in Polish to several different types of people. I realized that the message of the restored gospel cannot ever be the same for two people. We teach people... not lessons. I had an experience this week that taught me this lesson. In two days I had taught 3 Polish lessons and we had one more to go. We were feeling super confident in ourselves (more like we were acting cocky) and when we say down to plan our next lesson we didn't start with a prayer or anything. Instead we tweaked the last lesson we gave just a little and called it good. We were feeling great, our Polish was awesome, what could go wrong? I'll tell you exactly what went wrong and its something I did not recognize until I was done teaching. I could feel the Spirit almost tell me these words... "Alright Elder Benson, you think you can do this on your own? Let's see how it feels when I withdraw from your lesson and you are left without guidance or inspiration."
I was not able to get a single phrase out in Polish.
Everything I said was broken English and Polish, I had no confidence, there was no direction. The spirit was not there. Wow was that an experience that I will never forget. I can do nothing on my own save it be by the grace of God and His Holy Spirit. I won't be making that mistake twice! After that lesson we felt so terrible! I am grateful to have had that experience a month into my mission instead of a year in!
Along with humility, I have learned for myself that God is our loving Heavenly Father. I want to share a scripture that depicts this perfectly in my opinion.
28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?
29 And Enoch said unto the Lord: How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?
30 And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations; and thy curtains are stretched out still; and yet thou art there, and thy bosom is there; and also thou art just; thou art merciful and kind forever;
31 And thou hast taken Zion to thine own bosom, from all thy creations, from all eternity to all eternity; and naught but peace, justice, and truth is the habitation of thy throne; and mercy shall go before thy face and have no end; how is it thou canst weep?
32 The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;
33 And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
34 And the fire of mine indignation is kindled against them; and in my hot displeasure will I send in the floods upon them, for my fierce anger is kindled against them.
35 Behold, I am God; Man of Holiness is my name; Man of Counsel is my name; and Endless and Eternal is my name, also.
The Lord wept for His children. That's us. I don't know about you but I don't want to be the one to make my creator cry out of disappointment! That is why it is crucial to repent each day. It shows our love and our devotion to our creator. Along with that, I feel that we have nothing to boast about. Everything we have is from God. We wouldn't be alive without Him. And we could never return to our Father in Heaven without his son, Jesus Christ.
God loves the progress of the human mind and body so much that he made us his work and his glory. We are Gods favorite and most important creation. We are what matter most to him.
A question I have asked myself since last year is, why do young children die and how are they saved? How do we know they are in Heaven? I wish I would have read this scripture I am about to share earlier in my life, maybe it could have helped people who have struggled with this thought before!
Mosiah 3: 17-19
17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
18 For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
I love these scriptures!!! They teach so much about the character Christ, the crucial role of repentance, and finally, that children do not perish if they die in infancy. How could a pure child who has all of the qualities of Christ die and not live forever? It wouldn't make any sense. This proves that the Lord loveth his children and has provided a way for us to live with Him again. With that being said, I know that the Lord would never give us a trial that we cannot overcome. Earth life wouldn't be much of a test if there wasn't a way for us to get over the trials placed before us. I know that to be true. My whole life I always thought of God as all powerful, short tempered, and one who was always ready to condemn us if we displeased him. Therefore I thought well that's why Jesus Christ pleads for us and the atonement occured. Jesus wants to save us.. But I was so wrong! This is Gods plan!! God is all powerful and he is merciful and full of love. We cant forget that he is also just. He weeps for us, he calls us his greatest creation. He wants us to return home and he wants it so badly that he literally gave up his son, Jesus Christ to be tried, tested, tortured and murdered so that we, his greatest creation, could live again. This is the message I will share in Poland.
All in all the MTC has been a great experience. Haha it's great pulling pranks on people! This week I hid an alarm clock set to go off at 4 am underneath an elders pillow and that was one of funniest experiences!! He was not very happy the next day haha! But its alright, he thought it was pretty funny. Also, the Danish elders locked themselves out of their room and they had just showered so they had nothing but towels. They asked me to go to the front desk to get a temporary key and I did, but i thought it would be fun to mess with them a little... so I came back and said, "Hey, they said that I had to have one of you come down with me to get a key, so I don't know how you want to do this but I am gonna need someone from your district to come down." They were like DANG IT. So they sat there for half an hour and while they were sitting I gave the key to one of the elders and told him to go get ready and surprise them! He did and was like "ELDERS WE HAVE CLASS WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GET DRESSED!" We all laughed and laughed and they thought it was pretty funny too! I think that its important to stay a little loose at the MTC, it keeps you happy and helps you laugh a little!
I just want to finish this email by expressing my love for all of you. I feel your prayers, and I know that I am blessed to have one of the best support systems in the world. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope to hear from you soon. Don't forget about your Polish missionary!! I love getting your letters and messages. Have an amazing week.
Kościół Jezusa Chrystusa Świętych w Dniach Ostatnich jest prawdziwe. Wiem że Bóg jest nasym kochający Ojcem Niebieskim I jesteśmy Jego dziecmi. Jestem błogosławiony mieć rodzine. Dzięki Jezusa Chrystusa, możemy doświadczyć radość!
There is my broken Polish for ya haha! I'll make sure to send some pictures!