Good Afternoon Everybody! I love writing that first sentence every week. Thank you for always being there for me as a missionary. Thank you for your replies, prayers, thoughts, and most of all, your love. I'm grateful for the loving acts of kindness I have received in my life. Those moments have guided me and helped me stay on the path that has brought me to where I am today.
I was touched as I watched General Conference and realized that most of the things I've been doing as a missionary need to be done and expressed with more love. I will change
With all of that said, I am hopeful. I love this work. I love serving the Lord. I have loved serving with my new companion and other Elders from my Zone this past week. They are antastic missionaries. We have been blessed with so many miracles and so many opportunities to share the message of a loving Heavenly Father with people who have never recognized Him before.
Never take for granted the simple truth that you are a Child of God. I loved Elder Holland's words, "The first commandment in eternity is to love God with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength. The first truth of eternity is that He loves us with all of His heart, might, mind, and strength." I know this is true, and I'm grateful for that knowledge.
One of the highlights of the week was Brother N's baptism. He has been learning for a few months from Elder Roundy and Elder Cook, then from Elder Pearce, and finally from us. He was so excited for his baptism. He came to conference Saturday and Sunday
, and was baptized immediately after the afternoon session. The service was so simple and so sweet. The talks were beautiful and we sang Primary hymns.
He went into the water, then he came out with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes. What happens in that short, profound moment? What changes can occur so rapidly? I realized that the tears that come are not from the preceding one second of being immersed in water. They come from the many months and years of changes and repentance that have led to making a covenant with Heavenly Father.
I am grateful for the the Restoration of the Priesthood and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After he was confirmed, he bore a powerful testimony of change and a rekindled fire to put his vices behind and press forward trusting in Christ and keeping the commandments. I know that this is the path to lasting JOY!
On Wednesday, we spent a long, hot afternoon of finding less active members' houses while talking to everybody on the way. We talked to over a hundred people, but nobody was interested. On our way to one of the appointments we had scheduled that night, we were a little bit late and over 15 km away. I was in a bit of a daydream as we biked, and I'd already passed a few people without stopping to talk because we were late, but something seemed to jerk me to the side of the road towards a man off to the side in the gutter.
We learned that he was Chinese-Bedayu, and was in desperate need of comfort. We bore testimony of God's love, a Savior, and the hope of the Gospel. He said, "I'm touched that someone even cares enough to talk to me." He stopped the bus before he got on in order to give us his phone number. Miracle. I'm grateful for the love that Heavenly Father has for us. He truly does love each of His children. I'm grateful for the Spirit and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I pray that I can always be in position to feel, recognize, and respond to His promptings.
A few days later, we met with this same man at a member's house. He was once again touched by our friendliness and sincere love. As we explained more about the Godhead and the Plan that God has for us, he started to understand why. He felt the Spirit, and he desired to change. As he said his first prayer, the Spirit was so strong. I know that as we listen with humble hearts, just like this man did, Heavenly Father is able to communicate with us and through us. I hope that I can continue to be humble, sincere, and re-experience these things for "the first time" so that I never forget the small miracles and beauties of the Gospel.
I have been amazed at the love of all those around me. My companions serve me. The members so graciously have supported us and helped us in teaching and learning how to get around. The people on the street here are so kind, open, and willing to talk. I am so blessed. I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I'm grateful to represent Him. During district meeting, we were asked to bear a simple testimony of our Savior. What a wonderful, tender moment. I know that He lives. I know that He is guiding us. I know that each of us are numbered. I know that when we follow Him, we are happier.
I know that the Church and the Savior's gospel possesses all of the truth, ordinances, and power required to receive salvation. I'm grateful that it is our choice to receive, and I pray that we will make that our first choice each day as we kneel down to pray each morning.
Choose to receive the joy that comes through Christ.
Love, Elder Lloyd
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