Wednesday, March 25, 2015
SUNBURNS AND WORK!
I don't know where to start this week....so many ups and downs and everything in between. One thing is for sure, my faith has grown this week more than any other on my mission, and I am more grateful for this gospel than ever before. I want you to know that this is Christ's church. This is the way back to Him, and I would not be here if I didn't know that was true!
So earlier this week, Elder J and I rode a bus down to Ipoh for zone meeting where we had an awesome training and worked on our teaching skills by going through an exciting "teaching combine" where we got graded and drafted and stuff. Our zone leaders are awesome! When Elder J and I got back to Sitiawan, we were pumped up and ready to go. We had a great day scheduled, and were slowly disappointed as all of our appointments just kept dropping one after the other -- so we went home that night after finding all day and decided to plan more specifically and confirm with people more frequently. The next day came and somehow, despite our efforts, the exact same thing happened.
We have been praying more than ever, being exactly obedient, and working so hard so I couldn't help but feel a little discouraged, but we turned to the Lord in prayer once more. As we prayed this week, we realized just how powerless we really are. One day, as we were about to head home, we knocked on a large house with five huge dogs. There was an old auntie outside sweeping, but she had no chance at hearing us. We then walked over to her other gate to get her attention, but we still didn't have any luck. Just as we were turning away, a 14 year old girl came out with a huge smile and introduced herself in perfect English. She started talking, and eventually told us that her family is all buddhist, but she goes to a Christian private school and has always wanted to learn more. I know that we needed to find this girl, even if it wasn't our original plan.
The more I try to understand what the Lord has in plan for us, the more I realize that he loves each one of us infinitely more. There is a scripture in Alma 10:22-23 about how the prayers of the righteous are enough to save a whole city. As I've read the scriptures and words of the prophets, I've come to understand that a prayer is something that comes from the heart and reflects our true desires. Even though Elder J and I were praying for the investigators we had planned to teach, I know that people like the girl we found were also desiring in their hearts to find someone that could bring the gospel to their lives. I know we were an answer to her prayers!
There are many things that can lead to disappointment on a mission and in life, but I believe that true success is measured by our commitment to the Lord and following the Spirit's direction. I know that I am doing my best, and that is all the Lord asks of me.
In 1 Samuel 17 we read about the story of David and Goliath. As I read through I tried to recognize traits of a leader, and a few things stood out to me that I thought were rather interesting. The first is that David picked up 5 stones. If he had all this faith, why didn't he just pick up one? I believe that he picked up 5 not because he lacked faith, but because he was humble. I know that as we humble ourselves we will notice the Spirit's promptings more in our life. I also realized that David didn't even make an attempt to fight Goliath with a sword, because he recognized that was not his strength.
In order to be happy in this life and overcome our weaknesses, we must first recognize our strengths. I know that as we focus on developing our strengths and using them to help others, we will then be able to have more opportunities to improve on other attributes and qualities. I am so grateful that we are all so different, and I'm grateful that Heavenly Father has blessed us with talents and strengths that we are asked to share with others. As I've been my true self on my mission, I have been happiest and I've been able to teach with power. I would invite all of you to work on trying to realize and share your strengths with others this week, whatever they may be.
Lastly, in Jacob 4:6 we are invited to search the words of the prophets and continue to be tools in the Lord's hands. We can increase our faith to truly work miracles. I know that we can all do a little bit better at truly pondering and feasting on the scriptures, including me. I know that as I've served a mission I have come to love the scriptures because I've been able to read them every single day, then I was able to do what they asked. Please focus this week on testing out what the scriptures ask us to do, and I know that you will be able to gain more faith in our Savior.
I love you all so, so, so much. Thank you for your examples and your continuing prayers. I couldn't do it without you!! I am so excited to hear about all of my friends getting mission calls back home....CONGRATS EVERYBODY!!! THIS IS AWESOME!!!! I know this church is true, and I know that this is what Heavenly Father wants us to do at this time.
Love, Elder Lloyd