Friday, May 13, 2016
Good Afternoon Everybody! Happy Mother's Day! This past week was filled with many joyous moments and spiritual experiences. I love being a missionary! I love my family! I love the gospel!
I have a question for you to consider. What is your conversion story?
Many of you were born in the church and did not have missionaries come to your home and teach you the gospel. Rather, you were taught the gospel in your home and at church. Your testimony may be one that has grown gradually since the time you were a child or a youth.
Whatever the case, I invite you to seek for a more powerful testimony and deeper level of conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The good news is, you know how to do that. You teach others how to do it all of the time. You will recall that The Book of Mormon offers a way to find out for yourself (see Moroni 10:3-5).
I invite you to re-test the promise made by Moroni to all readers of the Book of Mormon. We each need to connect ourselves with heaven in the same manner we try to get our investigators to connect with heaven, which is through the Holy Ghost. We need to apply the same commitments to repent and receive revelation to ourselves that we extend to our investigators. I invite each of us to do this.
I have pondered a lot about my "conversion story" the past few weeks as my faith has been tested, things have changed, and I have had to dig deeper. If I have learned anything on my mission, I have learned that conversion is a process (duh! it just didn't make sense before).
When I was little, I did lean on the testimony of those around me, but I think that is simply a part of the process. I grew up in the Church, I served in the Church, and I loved being in the Church. I liked following the Church, but I think I missed the point-I wasn't necessarily following Christ. I didn't recognize the Spirit, and I didn't really have a vision, plans, focus, or real faith. It would have been a problem if I relied on the testimony of others forever, but luckily, as a missionary, I have been able to change.
Last week, while on the plane to Singapore, I reread 3 Nephi 27. I have read these verses hundreds of times, but this time, they were different.
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
While reading, I felt the Spirit so strongly testifying that Christ did these things for me, personally. I know that I can return to my Heavenly Father-a living, loving, caring Father- because of Jesus Christ. I know these things are true through the Holy Ghost. I know that Jesus Christ did these things because of His love for me and a desire to please His Father. As I have built on my testimony, my motives have changed as well. I am not just serving, doing nice things, or trying to make a difference in the world. I am on a mission because I want to please my Heavenly Father. I want to help others know that Christ truly did live, suffer, die, and resurrect so that all of us could have eternal life.
This is not the end of my testimony nor my conversion, it is just a part. I hope that I can become more converted to the gospel as I continue to exercise my faith, repent, and keep covenants in order to feel the Holy Ghost.
This past week was filled with many miracles! One of the simplest and sweetest came when we met with an investigator. He is 23 and has no religious background. After the opening prayer, he accounted to us all that he had learned on his own. He talked of prayer, serving others, trying to change his language, and he compared his changes to a seed while reading to us from Alma 32. It was miraculous that his testimony had grown so much, so quickly. I was also impressed that he was eager to account to us. As missionaries, we must account to our leaders and the Lord. I pray that we will continue to grow and change so that we are eager to account to the Lord and grow, just like this investigator did.
I was also touched as an investigator was fellowshipped yesterday at church. A member helped us contact him, teach him, then at church, the member was at his side for three hours. They talked with each other, laughed together, and grew together. They worshiped together. I'm grateful to be able to a part of this glorious work. I know that when missionaries and members come together, miracles occur and conversion takes place.
I am so grateful to be a missionary. I love serving. I love sharing my testimony. I have many weaknesses, but I know that I am growing! I pray that I can be a more profitable servant!
Love, Elder Lloyd