Wednesday, September 30, 2015
CONVERSATION BETWEEN HEARTS
Good morning, everybody!!! I cannot believe that I'm sitting at the computer again sending emails...the weeks always go by so fast! It feels like I've already told you everything that happened, but when I think back and look at my journal, there are countless, priceless experiences that have made small changes in me that will last forever. I am so grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful for my companion, Elder Hanks. I'm grateful to be serving in JB. I'm grateful for this gospel and the knowledge of a loving, caring, and living Savior. I am so humbled to be able to serve Him each day and show my gratitude!
We are so blessed with amazing people here. There were a bunch of funny, joyful, happy stories last week that have just helped me realize that Heavenly Father's love is manifested unto us in so many ways. I know He is there, watching over us, and inspiring us to continue to grow and help others come to know Him.
One of the miracles last week came when we met with an investigator who we hadn't been able to connect with. One day he phoned that he was free, but we had another appointment already arranged. For some reason, that first appointment cancelled, so we were able to meet with him. Elder and Sister Benson accompanied us as we taught about the Plan of Salvation. It was amazing to ponder about his questions -- they are so deep and he really pushes me to study and teach with the Spirit rather than just "proving" things with the scriptures. One of the things we discussed was the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
There's a metaphor that helped me understand the Savior's Atonement. There was a very poor Malaysian living in a kampung, far, far, away, with the dream to become a doctor. Unfortunately, no matter what he did, he would never have enough money or the chance to go to medical school. One day, someone came along and offered him a scholarship to go to medical school for a few years. Does that mean he is a doctor? Did that offer ensure his success? Absolutely not! He still had to study, work hard, and do all he that he could to take advantage of the special opportunity he had been given to fulfill his dream.
On Earth, there is no way we could make it back to Heavenly Father, in a perfected state, without Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice. That's impossible. He came to Earth, took upon all of our sins, died for us, and was resurrected. In return, we must show our gratitude and learn from the mistakes we make. Because of Christ, our choices and mistakes are learning opportunities rather than condemning and fatal acts. I am grateful that I have been blessed with the fullness of Christ's gospel since I was born. I pray that I can continue to learn it so that I can share it clearly, according to the Spirit, with others.
One of the best parts of last week was going on exchanges with Elder Avery. He is one of the most obedient, diligent, knowledgeable, and funny people I have ever met. It was a wonderful experience to be with him, and I learned a lot. Something we learned together happened in a roleplay as we shared a quick 5 minute Restoration lesson.
My Chinese is still a little shaky, and it didn't seem like I was sharing anything special, but as soon as I started reciting the First Vision, we both started crying. He just laughed a little because neither one of us knew how to react. It was almost a surprise to feel the Spirit so strongly. After, we discussed how our investigators must feel the same way when they feel the Spirit. They can't identify it or explain it--they're surprised by it. Later that day, we taught a lesson to a woman who barely speaks Mandarin and zero English. The whole lesson was a struggle of understanding, but as I testified of Heavenly Father's love and our purpose here on Earth, she started bawling. She couldn't understand why, but we did our best to help her recognize that it was the Spirit. The gift of tongues is so much more than just learning a new language or using clear words to convey knowledge; it truly is a conversation between our hearts as we follow the Spirit.
We had another miracle happen Saturday. We expected President Tan to help us with a few early afternoon and morning appointments, but he called last minute to let us know he would be in Singapore all day. We quickly called a member and her mom who agreed to help us teach. We gave them the address of our first appointment, and when we arrived, they were already there, conversing with our potential investigator. The lesson went perfectly because of the two members' testimonies and fellowship. In the lesson, as soon as I finished reciting the First Vision, the member (who just started on her mission papers) immediately started bearing testimony. She let us bear testimony, then she shared from the Book of Mormon. It was incredibly powerful and so impressive! Having members testify and bear testimony is so wonderful! I love the feeling of unity and love as we work together and help people come unto Christ!!
This past week, I learned a lot and realized there are many places that I need to improve. I need to forgive others, I need to forgive myself, and I need to forget. As I've tried to do better at helping others remember Christ as much as possible, I have noticed the Atonement affect me more and strengthen me each day.
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
I know that this gospel and the Savior's sacrifice is not just about "making up" for things that are done wrong, but in helping us become happier, eternal, Godly beings. I am so happy right now!! I am so grateful for the many blessings that I receive each day, and I'm grateful to be surrounded by others that are doing their best to feel the Spirit and follow Christ. I love being a missionary!
Love, Elder Lloyd