|Bye Bye Bintulu!|
Thursday, March 31, 2016
I AM A MISSIONARY! MIRI BOUND
Happy Easter Everybody!!!
This past week has been one of the most amazing weeks of my whole life. I am so excited for the members, the investigators, and the people that we continue to be guided to each day. I'm also excited for Elder Shirley and I. We have learned so much together, and we continue to grow each day.
I just learned that I will be transferring to Miri where I will continue to be zone leader in this zone. It'll be a short 3 hour bus ride from here. I'm excited for the change because I know it's where the Lord needs me to be. I love the people here so much, and I will miss them greatly, but I know that Elder Shirley and I have laid a foundation that will lead to many baptisms, growth, and joy in the coming weeks and months.
We are called to build up the church and bring forth zion. I believe that the Bintulu Chinese branch is much stronger than when we got here a few months ago, and there is a clear vision of where they want to be. I'm so grateful for the miracles I've witnessed. I'm grateful for the lessons that my companion has taught me. I'm grateful for the Saints who have been examples of dedication and consecration here.
I love Bintulu!!
I am grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ. While studying last week, Elder Shirley and I realized that we must do a much better job of listening, teaching from the scriptures, and bearing pure testimony.
People may be able to question our ideas, opinions, and the Church's doctrine, but they cannot question our testimony that has been received through the power of the Holy Ghost. As soon as people feel your interest and sincerity, they are more willing to open up to the things you want to share with them.
This week, I walked up to a lady and tried to say hello, how are you, how's your day going, and a few other things in chinese, then I simply said, "How are you?" in English and she turned right around. She is from Japan, but she had lived in Arkansas, New York, and Malaysia for a few years. We talked to her a little bit, introduced ourselves, and her jaw dropped.
She exclaimed, "Wait. Like, you're doing it?? You're on a mission right now? Like, you're missionaries??!!!" She just laughed. She had seen the Book of Mormon musical, heard rumors about us, and didn't really understand Christianity nor was she interested, but her question left me thinking for a long time.
I really am "doing" it. I am serving a mission right now. Am I giving all of my heart, might, mind, and strength? Do I represent Jesus Christ at all times throughout the day? I'm grateful for small things each day that help me ponder and deepen my desire to serve the Lord.
Yesterday at church, we were ecstatic that almost all of our investigators came. They sacrificed, they showed their faith, and we were all blessed. We had a wonderful Sacrament meeting, and the classes went well as we talked about Easter and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
With twenty minutes left in church, we watched three videos: A world without a Savior; Come Follow Me, an Easter Message; and Because of Him. By the end of Because of Him, I was completely bawling and grateful for all the blessings that have come into my life and will come because of Him. When I turned around, I was surprised to see all of the members and investigators also in tears. A few of our investigators that have been on date for awhile but unsure about the Spirit, were wiping their eyes and smiling.
(Here's the link to the Because of Him video: https://www.lds.org/
Everybody just started laughing as I smiled at each of them because there were no words to describe what we were feeling. We finished with our testimonies, a prayer, then everybody just hugged each other. It was the best feeling in the world to know that our investigators have felt an undeniable prompting, the members' fire was rekindled, and Jesus Christ truly is our Savior. We all knew it, right at the same moment. I am so grateful for tender moments like these that happen when we open our hearts, choose to believe, and come unto Christ.
These people have become my family, and it will be hard to leave, but I know that I will see them again someday. There was a special feeling at church yesterday. I felt a little bit of the joy and love that will surround us and be within us as we dwell together in the Celestial Kingdom someday. I know that we are here on Earth to practice and learn heaven. The people here have helped me understand how to love, understand, and sacrifice. I pray that I can remember these things forever!
My thoughts are a little bit scattered right now, but I'd like to share a few things I noticed last week. One of the fastest progressing families I've ever met on my mission has no T.V. They might be the only people in all of Malaysia without a smart phone or T.V., but they have the best family relationships. They love each other. They respect each other. They read the scriptures. They pray. They are repenting, and they're happy. It was interesting to be able to see that when all we have to focus on is our family, we are joyful, supported, and confident. We are more humble, and we are more able to receive the Spirit.
We met a 20 year old boy as we were biking home one night trying to get home before curfew. His dad was dead, his mom had abandoned him, he was a dropout in school, but he was wise. He spoke of God, the point of life, and how he remains happy. When we taught him how to pray, we testified that Heavenly Father knows and loves him. The first words to his first prayer were, "Dear Heavenly Father, my name is .....Thank you for taking the time to listen to me.." It was one of the most sincere, moving things I've ever been able to experience. I take things like prayer, family, the Plan of Salvation, and the Atonement for granted. This boy who had nothing was so ready to receive everything that matters the most. I pray that I can be more humble and grateful like him.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
I know that Heavenly Father has a specific plan for all of us. I know He loves us. I know that because of Jesus Christ, there is no end to anything. We do not need to feel lost, discouraged, upset, or guilty, if we will turn to him. I am eager to share this message with the people of Miri. I will miss the people here, especially Elder Shirley, but I know that the missionaries that follow me will continue to share the gospel with Bintulu.
Love, Elder Lloyd