Sunday, March 6, 2016
DO THE WORK!
Good Afternoon Everybody!!!
Thank you so much for the emails, prayers, smiles, pictures, and memories. This past week was filled with humbling experiences, miracles, joy, and a deeper determination to serve the Lord. I am so grateful for the countless, priceless experiences I am blessed with each day. I am so grateful to serve here. I'm grateful for a wonderful companion who is Christlike, hard working, diligent, faithful, and patient. I am grateful for the Restored Gospel and all the blessings that accompany it. I am grateful for Jesus Christ, our Savior.
One of the most amazing opportunities that we have as missionaries is to pray more than we have ever prayed before. In addition, I know that there are millions of people around the world praying for us as well. As Elder S and I have done our best to make prayer a more meaningful, sincere conversation with our Father In Heaven, we have seen many miracles! I am so grateful for the peace and spirit that comes from knowing the simple truth of prayer being a two way communication between us and Heavenly Father.
We prayed, fasted, and prayed while working as hard as we could to find people that really desire to learn more about Christ and make changes in their lives. The first few days of the week were a bit slow and disheartening as we talked to more, more, and more people without any success at finding "the one."
As I realized that each rejection or apathetic "they're all the same" type of reaction was one step closer to finding the person that was prepared, I was able to keep the Spirit and joy in my heart. Thursday night, as we were biking home, we stopped and talked to one last man on the side of the road. We scared him a bit, he was a bit annoyed, but he was from the Philippines and had a rich Christian background.
We shared a quick testimony, invited him to church, and went on our way. We followed up by calling him and invited him to church again this Sunday. Yesterday, he arrived to church 45 minutes before Sacrament Meeting was scheduled to begin. I was so impressed. He loved church, he felt the Spirit, and he wants to come back! As I said goodbye after church finished, I asked him how he was getting home. He didn't drive, he didn't bus, he didn't take a taxi...I was baffled. He told me that he woke up Sunday morning, prayed, and realized that he really did need to go to church. He started walking, knowing where our church was, but having no idea how he would get there. As he was walking, someone kind picked him up and gave him a ride to our church's area.
He had the faith and desire to hitch-hike his way to church. I asked him how he was getting home, and he said he didn't know, but the Lord would provide a way. I was immediately touched, humbled, and amazed. I am so grateful for the sacrifices that people are willing to make in order to come closer to the Lord. I know that the purpose of life is to prepare to meet God. If we let anything else prevent us from accomplishing that, we are not worthy to live in Heavenly Father's presence.
I studied sacrifice a lot this week and came across a few scriptures that brought many thoughts and ideas to my mind.
19 And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
20 And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not.
8 Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me.
Basically, we are no longer required to sacrifice animals, but that doesn't mean that we don't need to sacrifice something else. The only thing that is truly "ours" is our free agency-our will. As we do our best to become like the Savior, we do as he did by aligning our will with the Father's. We notice a change. We take the animal/natural man inside of ourselves and place it on the altar. We take the Sacrament and promise to turn away from anything that distances us from Heavenly Father. We receive revelation in order to know where the Lord would have us repent/change, and we feel sorrow for the mistakes that we've made.
Do we really understand that when we sin we cause someone else pain? Each mistake we make causes Christ to suffer, but I know He bears it willingly so that we can be relieved of that burden forever, if we are willing to repent and press forward. Make the small changes that are required.
Do the work, and joy will fill our lives!
I am grateful for the joy, peace, and freedom that comes as we follow the commandments and have the Spirit with us. This past week, we did all we could to have the Spirit with us, and we were blessed with many miracles. More people than ever before came to church. Investigators seemed to be found when we least expected it. Members were willing to help and were excited to do missionary work. As I've realized that obedience/repentance is a journey, not something that is encumbering, irritating, or burdensome, I have been able to experience more joy than ever before.
I pray that I can continue to do all I can to feast on the words of Christ, pray, obey, and qualify for the Spirit so that I may be an effective tool in the Lord's hands. I love being a missionary, and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything! I am excited for the coming week, and I know the Lord will continue to prepare the way for us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Love, Elder Lloyd