Good afternoon everybody!!! I am bursting with joy! How does every single week seem to be better than the last? I was blessed with a story from a friend about how simply having a good attitude does not change our lives or make things better than they are. Having and recognizing divine experiences is what can inspire us, encourage us, strengthen us, and bring more joy. I am grateful that each and every week, I am able to recognize more of the Lord's hand in my life.
The experience and feelings I had while being around President Brent H. Nielson last week in Kuching are some things I will never forget. Before the mission, I had the opportunity to spend time with and talk with a few General Authorities. These were all incredible experiences, but they were not nearly as powerful as meeting with Elder Nielson last week. The Spirit and love that was in the chapel was tangible. I immediately felt at peace, hopeful, and I knew that the Lord was watching over us. I think the reason why this past week was so special wasn't because Elder Nielson was more spiritual than the other people I've met in the past; I was more prepared, qualified, and worthy than I ever have been in my life to feel the Spirit.
"The Spirit has no agency." I pray that this sentence will stay with me forever. Elder Nielsen helped us understand how the Holy Ghost and the spirit are different from each other. The responsibility of the Holy Ghost as a "spirit personage" is to safeguard the spirit. The Holy Ghost is a somebody, but the spirit is a something. It is through the spirit that we are strengthened, comforted, and directed. The spirit is a something and is governed by laws and order. It has no agency. I now understand why obedience to the commandments and the direction we receive is so important. We must be worthy in order to feel the spirit. Even a merciful God cannot break His own laws and send the spirit if we are not worthy. We must be qualified!
We were blessed with so many miracles this past week. While in the airport waiting to come home, our flight was delayed for about an hour. We walked around and talked with some incredible people who will hopefully be able to investigate later when we pass their numbers to the other missionaries. When we finally sat down in our seats, I found myself next to an Indian business man. We started talking a bit, and I was surprised to find that he was Christian. He had been raised by two very devout, Christian parents, but had slowly fallen away as business and work took over his life. I tried to connect with him, but he eventually pulled out a beer, took a drink, then fell asleep, seemingly uninterested. I opened the Book of Mormon and started studying. Later on, he bumped me in the arm and offered me his lunch. I was a bit surprised, but graciously accepted. Ten minutes before landing, he asked, "What exactly do you do as missionaries?" We explained a few things, then I was able to share with him a little of what I had been reading:
9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.
I shared why the mission brings joy. I shared about the amazing thing that happens as we repent. As we submit our will to the Father's, just like Christ, we are strengthened. We feel peace and joy. To help others do that only multiplies the effect. He asked, "Do you really enjoy what you're doing?" I said, "YES!!!" The rest of the conversation was amazing. He asked for a copy of the Book of Mormon, then got off the plane when we landed. He waited for us near the baggage area and told us that he felt as if he were the luckiest man in the world to meet us today. He offered to drive us anywhere. He told us he didn't care if he was late to his business meetings because the Lord had placed us in his life to help him. Wow. I know the gospel changes hearts! People truly do yearn and seek for these things, even if they don't realize it at first.
We had an amazing experience at church while we had the opportunity to talk with Brother T. He has been out of town the past week, but now that he's back, he's excited to spend more time on the branch and help give others callings. He told us he needs to find someone to replace him as branch clerk (and the billion other callings he has), so that's what we prayed and looked for while finding. Yesterday, we talked to a construction manager, a banker, and an accountant. They were all interested in learning more. We truly do find what we're looking for!
If there is one thing that we must learn in life, it is the doctrine of Christ. This past week, I learned about the redeeming power of the Atonement, and the enabling power of the Atonement. How do we access the redeeming power? We repent, we are baptized, and we renew those covenants each week. How do we access the enabling power?
19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
We access the enabling power of the Atonement as we cheerfully and patiently submit to the Father's will. We must become like our Savior. We will continue to trudge through trials, afflictions, and sadness until we realize that they are all part of Heavenly Father's plan for us. As soon as we cheerfully and patiently work through these things, we will feel the strength that Christ's Atonement promises us. I pray that we can all be patient in all aspects of our life as we continue on our journey to become like our Savior and Father in Heaven.
Thank you for your prayers and love. I know that Heavenly Father loves us. I know this is His work, and that I am where I am supposed to be. I have never been happier. I also know that the Lord is pleased, but never satisfied. Let's rise a little higher!!!
Love, Elder Lloyd