Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Elder Benson - South Africa Jo-Berg Mission

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Mind-Boggling Key to Success

Hebrews 13:20-21

"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

First, God can make us perfect in e-v-e-r-y good work to do His will.

Take a minute to think about that.  The ultimate, all-powerful, supreme ruler of the Universe wants us to be his right-hand men/women, doing what He desires, which is ultimate, all-powerful, and supreme.  But wait, that's not all!  He can make us not only powerful but perfect in doing every single good work on this journey of discipleship. To help us in His great and marvelous work, not only does He send us the most perfect manual of instructions (the scriptures, words of the living prophets, etc.), but ...

Second: ...he promises that He can literally work in us to do what is well pleasing in His sight, which, again, is ultimate, all-powerful, and supreme.

My mind is cramping from even the idea of a God working through me, a foolish, immature, imperfect creature, to do His job!  How can this be?  How is it even possible?  The only way that it can be done is ...

Three ...through Jesus Christ!  The scriptures repeat over and over again that only through His name is salvation given. Likewise, the only way we can become perfect ministers of God our Father is through the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for us.

What an interesting concept:  The Immortal Son of God took upon Himself all our sufferings and sins and challenges, perfectly paid the price for them, and thus allowed us the opportunity to one day become perfect as He is and allowed our Heavenly Father the opportunity to work through us to do his bidding perfectly as a minister and representative of His Son.  I cannot offer a single phrase worthy of expressing the joy I feel.  Not only does the Atonement help me overcome my weaknesses as a servant of Christ, but it allows me to become a perfect servant of Christ.  What a promise!

Now, we can't just puff our chests out and claim to have the power of God to be with us, making us the unstoppable force for good, because of the promises from our God.  Let's read Jeremiah's words on the matter:

Jeremiah 29:12-13
"Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me and I will hearken unto you.  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

Bingo:  God wants us to be self-reliant in becoming His minister.  As we search and pray with all our heart to be perfect even as He is, we will find Him, and He will hearken unto us as we become aligned in His will through the Atonement of Christ Jesus.

Ultimate, All-powerful, and Supreme.

As I come to the final quarter of my mission, my goal is to test these marvelous promises, to fulfill them, and experience the joy of them.

I love you all!

Elder Benson

Monday, March 20, 2017

I Have Become a Fool

Sanibonani abangami bami!
(Hello my friends!)

Yo!  Seven months to go!  Eish!  Five transfers left!  Aaaiii man, I can't leave SA!!  I didn't think they were serious when they said that the last year of your missionary service passes away in a heartbeat.  The time is flying past us here in Soweto!  We had ten investigators turn up to church this week (most of which were women! #girlpower), four new investigators, and two frowing faces as Elder Blow is leaving Protea Glen!  Shame kakhulu!  I'm nonetheless super excited to have Elder Mkize (South African) as my new companion!

I've decided to try out song writing in the past few weeks.  I made a really nice song about growing a beard and fighting a bear (which had a solid two lines... wahoo), but I've decided to stick to writing about missionary work.  There's a fun arrangement under way, which will hopefully be coming your way.

At the beginning of last transfer, for those of you who haven't heard, I was coming out of what was the worst part of my mission, with parasites and hardship and death, and I can honestly say I'm doing great!  I'm nearly back to my normal self, besides the fact that I've become a fool!  Elder Blow can testify of the crazy companion that I am, but I'm talking about a different crazy here.

I'll just share it from Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-11), taking away the numbers to help it make a bit more sense.

"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me,"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

I have become a fool in glorying;"

Normally I wouldn't praise an apostle of the Lord for admitting that he's foolish, but Paul absolutely nailed it!  For no other reason does it make so much an impact than a few short words, namely "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

I'm not advertising an absolute binge of two dozen donuts to become a lean, mean body-builder (although that is my dream), neither am I suggesting that we should focus on enhancing our weaknesses to become perfect beings, but I am suggesting that we all become fools in Christ!  If there's anything to gloryify and take pleasure in, it is in the Atonement of Jesus Christ!  Christ is so eager to help us, more so than we could comprehend.  If we but turn to him in weakness, then in HIm will we be made strong.

Even further it testifies in Ether 12:26-27:

"... The Lord spake unto me, saying, Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek that they shall take no advantage over your weakness;  and if men come unto me I will show them their weakness.

I give unto me weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things be strong unto them."

Now let's remember that Christ does not want to do all the work for us.  Like it says in 2 Nephi 25:26,"...We know that it is by grace we are saved, after all we can do."  Building our spiritual self-reliance is crucial in our journey towards acquiring the strength the Lord promises us.  It may be a gradual process, but it doesn't need to be an unhappy process!  I remember taking a road trip up to northern Canada with my Father.  The total driving time was over 48 hours (if I remember correctly... maybe all the driving fried my brain.), which would seem a daunting task.  But, in the words of Will Smith,"The first step is you have to say that you can."  We packed our food, downloaded our favorite comedy tracks, and started on the long road to Calgary, Canada.

Throughout the whole journey, we sang, we joked, we slept (not while driving), and we enjoyed to the end of our journey.  It didn't seem like an eternity, but seemed to be like any other normal two days in my life (besides experiencing a pretty sore behind).  Relating to our journey in life towards discipleship, we need to not only endure to the end, but enjoy to the end!  The resources to help us are endless: families, FOOD, friends, the list could go on for ages.  Don't be surprised if you hit some low points, even rock bottom in this conquest.  Because sometimes God allows you to hit rock bottom for you to realize that He is that rock, and that He hath truly descended below us all so we can be lifted up.

To conclude, become a fool in Christ.  Be perfected in Him as you enjoy to the end, eat food, and become the morally-strong person your Father in Heaven expects you to be.

I wish you all a blessed week, filled with the love and support of the Savior, surrounded by those you love and the food you love.  Salani kahle!

-Elder Benson 'Mhlongo'

Monday, March 13, 2017

Soweto District Meeting

Soweto District Meeting: Elder Allen, Elder Blow, Elder Benson, Elder Jorgensen, Elder Andrews, Elder 'Ahome'e, and Sister Dunn

Monday, March 6, 2017

Feeling Dreamy?


Today I'll just be sharing an experience from... well, let's just call them 'W'.

W had walked into the church parking lot after church, as she was interested in learning more about becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  (Keep in mind that there's sometimes an atmosphere of signing up for a gym membership when uniting oneself with a Church).  She was approached by a member of the Church who gave her our numbers.  A week later, we appeared for our first appointment.  We had been meeting with W for almost a month when the following experience happened:

We had just begin teaching W of the true Doctrine of Christ, first beginning with the principles of Faith and Repentance.  Before we could continue onto the next step in the sequence, being Baptism, W related to us a tender experience that had occured to her while worshipping with us on Sunday.  W said," I walked into church and took a seat on the bench.  A few minutes into the service, I rememberd a dream that I had a few months ago while attending another church.  I was standing with my spouse in front of a congregation in a church.  Looking back on the dream, I realized that I was now sitting in that same church as in the dream.  The bricks were the exact same color, the framework the same layout!  I think God has finally guided me to the chruch where He wants me to be."  Silence covered the room, but more overpowering was the warmth of the Spirit in that room.  It's an experience and a feeling that I would hate to forget.

Currently W is on date for baptism in the month of April.  We have since taught her of the Doctrine of Christ in its fullness.  The entire, complete, and perfect gospel can only be found in the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ and more of God's word.  Whether if you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or not, you must receive a witness of its divinity if you are to truly understand the Gospel and Doctrine of our Redeemer, who is Christ.  I've read the Book of Mormon myself, and, although it's taken over 19 years of my life, I have an undoubted conviction within my soul that it is the word of God.  Please read it!  Fill and saturate your soul with the message and doctrine found within its pages.  Then pray and ask God if it is a true witness of His Son.  He will answer you.  It may take time, but He will testify of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Spirit if you seek with real intent, having faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Please except a free copy of the Book of Mormon!  Look on the right margins for a copy to be delivered to you (if I remember my blog right... eish!)

Love you all!  Keep praying.  Keep reading.  Keep believing.

-Elder 'Thapiso' Benson