Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Hello everyone!!!! This time I'm emailing from a much different part of the world! I was transferred from the farthest western tip of Malaysia to the farthest eastern tip in a place called Sitiawan! Hooray!!! It was so, so hard saying goodbye to everybody in Tawau, but it also was very peaceful to reflect on all that has happened in the past six months as I rode on the plane here. I am so grateful for all of the prayers for me this week! It's always tough coming to a new area, so thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!
Reflecting back on Tawau, I want to share one of my favorite scriptures-
9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
Serving in Tawau was such a privilege and a blessing. I know that was exactly the place I needed to start my mission. The people there taught me patience and love, no matter what has happened in the past. They were always so friendly and kind to absolutely everyone, starting with me. I am so grateful that they have helped me to repent and turn towards God, and I pray that I was able to help them do the same. I know that I have made eternal friendships, and this time on Earth is just a short while. I will learn to love the people in Sitiawan just as much as I have learned to love in Tawau!!!!
Sitiawan is every bit as hot as Tawau, but that's about where the similarities stop. Everybody told me it was small, but it's about ten times bigger than Tawau. West Malaysia is just much more developed than East Malaysia -- there is a huge hypermall here, lots of white expats who work on oil rig construction sites a few miles away, big houses, nice cars....it's just weird!!!!! It's also much different to see CHINESE PEOPLE. In Tawau, most of the people who spoke Chinese also new Malay and didn't really have a preference. Here, everybody knows Chinese, and they expect us to know Chinese. I'm grateful for this, and I'm excited to improve my language skills. There are fewer Malay/Muslim people here, but there are many, many Indians. I will be the District Leader here and will serve with Elder J who is awesome and has been serving for three months, so we're learning together!
The branch here is very different than Tawau as well. There are about 25 people who come to Sacrament on average, but 90% of them are under the age of 20. The members here are all teenagers, and they're awesome!!!!!!! It is so exciting and energizing to be able to sit next to people who are so young yet have a strong desire to serve. The branch sent a missionary off yesterday, and two more will leave in the next few months. Though small in number and young in age, the branch members here are amazing examples of faith and courage. Many of the youth don't have family support and have changed their life only after overcoming many challenges. I'm excited to get to know everyone better, and I feel like we will be able to connect very well!!!!
The coolest miracle from last week was being able to have patience and persevere until Heavenly Father blessed us with two opportunities to share the gospel. On Saturday, Elder J and I had just about every single lesson drop, and we only had sunburns to show for it. Yesterday at church, the theme was hope and faith in Jesus Christ as we go through trials. I couldn't help but feel humbled and ashamed because I was feeling sorry for myself. As we went out yesterday after church, we prayed multiple times and simply kept going-being patient and faithful because we knew that the Lord was with us. As a result, we contacted two people who are absolutely golden! From the first few words spoken between us, they expressed a desire to learn and a yearning for more truth in their lives. I am so grateful the Heavenly Father trusts us enough to share His gospel, and I know He answers our prayers!
I would invite you all to read Alma 5 this week and ponder about your own conversion and confidence in the gospel. It is quite humbling and inspiring to read scriptures that ask personal questions that we can immediately answer and gauge the strength of our testimony.
Thank you so much for the prayers and the love. I am so blessed to have the support of so many, and most of all, I am grateful for my Savior. I know this gospel is true, and I know we would all have no hope or reason to live if it were not for him. I'm excited for this new adventure, and I know the Lord is with us!
Love, Elder Lloyd