One of the most important lessons I learned this past week started as I went on exchanges with Elder G. We made wonderful plans, we were specific, and we were both excited for the day that was about to happen. Throughout the morning, plans changed, but because we had made solid backup plans, we didn't have to worry about anything.
We continued forth in faith, looking, praying, and believing we'd find those we planned for, and WE DID. We were able to meet many people, and specifically, college students. It was amazing as we shared with students from Malaysia, Africa, Taiwan, China, and many other countries. I was surprised that almost all of them had heard of Mormons before, but the special feeling came as we spoke of Christ and the Restoration. As I was able to play a part in helping them understand why we have the Book of Mormon, hearts were opened, and the Spirit was present.
While listening to the Priesthood Session of General Conference, a few things spoken seemed to pierce my heart. In order to be a leader, we simply need to be a follower. We need to follow Jesus Christ.
Being a leader means being a disciple. My leadership ability doesn't come because of what I've accomplished, who I am, my personality, my skills, or anything else. The ability to lead comes from my commitment and desire to follow Christ and develop Christlike attributes. I'm going to focus on studying patience and hope this week. Most of all, I'm going to love everyone and treat them as Christ would. I pray that they will feel His love through me.
One of the tender mercies and miracles we had last week happened yesterday morning. We were sitting in Sacrament meeting, I turned around, and I saw a familiar face on the back row. We've been going to a gym every morning except Sundays for the past four weeks, and we know everybody there. The person on the back row was our friend from the gym! As soon as Sacrament ended, we walked back to talk to him. After a bit of small talk, we asked, "How did you know what time church was?" We had invited him before, but we didn't get very specific. He replied, "Elders, I've been a member for 20 years! I served a mission in Melbourne! I was one of the first people baptized in Miri." My jaw dropped.
When I first met him, I had introduced myself as Elder Lloyd and asked if he was also Christian, but all he said was yes. He never once hinted that he was a member. A few weeks ago, we asked him if he could turn off the music at the gym while we were there and tried to explain why we do what we do as missionaries, but he simply just said, "Okay." without asking why or mentioning that he used to be a missionary too.
When he told us he was a member, I immediately went through all of my memories trying to think if there had ever been a time where I had not been a full representative of Jesus Christ around him. Gratefully, I couldn't think of anything. I learned that we truly never know who is watching, but there is ALWAYS somebody watching us. We must always have Christ's name on our lips, written on our hearts, and showing through our actions. I am proud to represent Jesus Christ, wear the name tag, and share the gospel with everyone.
There are times each day when I find my thoughts drifting or my energy decreasing, but then I remember these words of strength.
RISE UP, O MEN OF GOD!
Rise up, O men of God!
Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
To serve the King of Kings.
2. Rise up, O men of God,
In one united throng.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.
3. Rise up, O men of God!
Tread where his feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!
I want to be a better servant! I want to continue to rise up to the call and mantle that has been placed upon me. I love serving the Lord, and I have felt true joy as I have shared my testimony and invited others to come unto Christ.
I love serving with my companions. We have been blessed with so many tender mercies and miracles. I'm grateful that we are united in our vision to give all we can to the Lord and the people here. I'm most grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for the Atonement. I have been strengthened as I have prayed and pleaded for help in order to accomplish the things that He would have us do. I have felt the soothing balm of repentance as I've worked on the small things that keep my from feeling the Spirit. I have felt JOY as I've seen others do the same. I love being a missionary.
35 Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a merciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name.
Only through serving the Lord can we feel true joy. I know this gospel is true. I know that the gospel of Christ changes us.