Monday, May 23, 2016
CHEERFULLY DO ALL THINGS!
This past week was filled with many miracles, many never-to-be-forgotten moments, and absolute joy.
To start the week, we had an amazing zone meeting. We conducted and led a few of the discussions, but most of the training came from the missionaries in the zone. Every time we are gathered together, I'm amazed and astounded by the powerful spirit that is present. I love being a missionary. I love missionaries. Each one of us has our own past, our own personality, our own desires, and our own revelation. Because we have the same goals, when everything comes together, miracles happen. I am so grateful for moments like those that give me the boost I need to share the gospel with every person I come into contact with.
After zone meeting, we first met with an investigator who is to be baptized in a few weeks. A recent convert who helped us teach, bore powerful testimony of baptism. He spoke of feeling like a newborn baby, and then he described the rapid growth that has come as a result of continuing to come to church, read the scriptures, pray, and seek the Holy Ghost in his life. I was touched by the sincerity of his words, and I was ecstatic at the way our investigator received all we taught. He realized that baptism is not the end. It is the beginning. Looking back, I feel like I knew nothing when I was baptized. If I had stopped coming to church, reading, and obeying at that time, where would I be now? I hope that I can look back a few years from now and say the same thing. I pray that my testimony will continue to grow and my conversion will continue to deepen as a result of doing the simple things and obeying the commandments from our loving Heavenly Father.
Later that night, we met with two 16 year old investigators, T and J, who have been meeting us for a few weeks, come to church weekly, and want to be baptized, but their parents don't approve of them being baptized in a different church. After we said the opening prayer, one of them shared about a dream. She spoke of Jesus talking to her, bidding her to follow Him, be baptized, and serve a mission. As soon as she woke up, she told her mom, and her mother gave her permission to be baptized and is interested in the Church. MIRACLE!!! J then spoke of another dream where they were in a tub of water, supported by oxen, and were baptized 9 different times......wow. We were able to share a little bit about the doctrine of baptisms for the dead in the temple. We have been fasting and praying for these two since we met them. His parents were also intrigued by this dream and told him to follow his heart. I know that Heavenly Father loves His children and answers prayers.
Later in the week, they brought two of their friends to learn more about the gospel. I know that when we feel the Spirit and the love of God, our first reaction is to share that joy with others. As we share the gospel, we are blessed! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father and Christ are with each one us each step of the way. I know that they know us perfectly, they want us to succeed, and they will do as much as they can to help us while still protecting our agency.
Some things changed later in the week, presenting "stepping stones" but I was reminded of this scripture:
17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
I know this scripture is directly for those that are struggling with their faith, their hope, their future...as we go back to the basics, do all we can, and trust in the Lord, I know that paths are opened. Opportunities never before presented will come upon us.
We had an eye opening experience when we met with a less active member this week. Every single time we stop by, he has been sleeping. I would approach his house assuming he wasn't going to answer, thinking we were wasting our time, and already preparing to leave, but this time he pulled up on his moto just as we finished up knocking on his gate. He invited us inside his house. He's 17, 6'2", massive, and kind as a teddy bear. When we walked through the front door, the house was dark, there was trash everywhere, and there wasn't one place for us to walk/sit down. After pushing trash around, we started talking to him. His Father died many years ago, his mother left him 8 years ago, he lives with is elderly grandmother, and his only sister is constantly working trying to provide for them. My mind and heart were just turning for this amazing young man. My whole perspective changed as I learned about what trials, challenges, and things he had to face all day, every day.
I was raised with the best parents in the whole world. My mother and father are my best friends, and everything they've done in the past 23 years has been for me, my brother, and my sister. I have always been able to talk with my father, knowing that he'd listen with love and patience, and correct me when I was in the wrong. Because of this, I have been able to develop a good relationship with my Heavenly Father.
I'm grateful for loving parents. I'm grateful for people around me my entire life who encouraged me, loved me, and invited me to choose the right, study hard, and follow Christ. I am so blessed. I know that I want to be that type of person to my children. I also know that no matter what background we come from, we can learn from good and bad examples. The gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church has brought light into the lives of these people, and millions more around the world, including me.
I love being a missionary. I love sharing the gospel. I love my companion. I love these people. I am grateful for the hope that comes because of the Atonement of our Elder Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that we can change, and I know that we must change in order to receive what we have been sent to Earth to learn.
Love, Elder Lloyd