Monday, August 17, 2015
MIRACLES AND TESTIMONIES
Thank you so much for your prayers and concern. I am grateful for the sacrifices that you all make each day for your families, your friends, and our Lord. Thank you for your love and example!! This past week has been incredible, and I'm so excited to share a few miracles with you.
First, I was blessed with many humbling experiences this week that made me feel grateful to come from a first-world country like America. We found out that Johor Bahru is suffering through a drought right now (even though it rains almost every single day...I don't understand), and as a result, they are rationing water throughout the city. They warned us that we would only have water on two days a week until September 16th. I was shocked!!! It's crazy to realize how many things we take for granted when we don't have anything that makes us yearn for them. It made Elder Hanks and I think a lot about how many other things we are blessed with. Hopefully, we'll get more rain and there won't be any problems at our apartment.
At another time, we visited a lady in the hospital, and as we approached, I was impressed with its size and appearance. When we entered inside, it was a completely different story. It felt like a subway station in New York. People were scrambling everywhere, it smelled like urine, and it was blazing hot. I don't think anybody could ever have a good experience in there. I am so grateful for the many things that we are blessed with, both spiritually and temporally. I am grateful for all I have, and I know the world is crazier than ever in many different aspects. As we pray for the Spirit, we will be able to find peace anywhere. While visiting this lady, we shared the Liahona message for the month, and there was no mistaking the love that filled the room. The gospel can comfort us no matter where we are, what we're going through, or what we believe will happen in the future.
Regarding our work in helping investigators change some of their habits, I was studying this week and came across a few scriptures that really stood out to me.
19 And when the armies of the Lamanites saw that the people of Nephi, or that Moroni, had prepared his people with breastplates and with arm-shields, yea, and also shields to defend their heads, and also they were dressed with thick clothing
20 Now the army of Zerahemnah was not prepared with any such thing; they had only their swords and their cimeters, their bows and their arrows, their stones and their slings; and they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins; yea, all were naked, save it were the Zoramites and the Amalekites;
21 But they were not armed with breastplates, nor shields—therefore, they were exceedingly afraid of the armies of the Nephites because of their armor, notwithstanding their number being so much greater than the Nephites.
22 Behold, now it came to pass that they durst not come against the Nephites in the borders of Jershon;
I am so grateful that I have had parents, friends, and missionary companions who help me to "put on the armor of God" and protect me against the fiery darts of the adversary. Prevention is so much easier than repenting, and it also allows us to have the Spirit more strongly so that we can help others. We need to do all we can to arm ourselves and defend our bodies/spirits from the many temptations that bombard us each day. We had to teach a lesson to an investigator Saturday morning when we'd normally be doing our studies, and it was shocking to feel the difference of not having my studies to protect me. I felt vulnerable and weak when we left the house, and the lesson did not go that well either. I pray that I can retain these truths that I'm learning and always remember that Satan is a real enemy. We NEED the armor of God that comes from study and prayer each morning.
While pondering, I was reading through Alma 34. It talks about how this life is the time to labor, repent, and turn to the Lord. The scriptures become so much more meaningful when we realize that laboring for the Lord=repentance. As we serve, spread the gospel, and turn to God, we truly receive a remission of sins, gain an increased capacity to feel the Spirit, and feel joy. I am so grateful for the many learning experiences I'm having, and I'm grateful for the many times that I am forgiven each day. We truly are so weak, but I am grateful for the weaknesses that I have so that I can know where I need to improve.
Lastly, in district meeting last week, we learned and discussed a lot about our testimonies. I was thinking a lot about what a testimony is and what it means. As I thought of things I treasure-my family, my friends, the gospel, the people here, the talents I have, etc. I realized that I won't have any of them if I don't have a testimony. A testimony leads us to repent and make covenants with God (and most importantly, KEEP them). With a testimony, we truly have everything, but without it we have nothing. With a testimony, things are eternal. Without it, things are temporary. I am grateful for the testimony I have of my Savior, and I know that this is where I'm supposed to be right now. I love being a missionary, and I pray that I can continue to do the work of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Love, Elder Lloyd