Good Afternoon Everybody!!! I can't believe another week has passed and I'm sitting here in an internet kedai, ready to report and email again. Time goes by too fast! I already feel like I'm forgetting things from yesterday, but when I go back through each day, it is amazing to go through everything we experience. Each day is packed with so many feelings, emotions, invitations, revelations, and miracles (aka MIRI - cles). I love serving the Lord!
This past week was filled with many, many, many miracles among all companionships in our zone. We are so blessed. I am so blessed. Miracles from getting rides from strangers who ended up wanting to learn about the gospel to finding unknown church members, to helping people understand priesthood authority to learning something new in personal study to....the list goes on and on. One of the tender mercies that I'd like to share happened Tuesday afternoon.
We have only been teaching an investigator for about a month now, but he continues to grow spiritually in between appointments very rapidly! I've wondered what makes him different than all the others. Why does he progress so quickly? He reads, but so does everybody else. He prays, but so does everybody else. He comes to church, but so does everybody else. What's the difference?
As I studied Tuesday morning, I found myself reading an article Patterns of Light about the purpose of life and what we're really doing here. We must gather light. Our goal is to continue to gather more and more light until the perfect day. We will be judged according to the amount of light that we have, and that will determine the kind of body we're resurrected with. What does it mean to be an heir of God?
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
As a mortal who cannot fully comprehend what joy Heavenly Father has in store for us, and thus not being able to perfectly teach others, I felt a bit confused. As we taught our investigator, I was able to receive greater understanding.
I may not be able to understand what it means to be like Heavenly Father, but I understand the joy that comes when we have hopes/dreams of progression and change. Since I was little, I always had high aspirations for life and goals that I wanted to achieve. If somebody had told me that I had no chance of growing up and accomplishing these things, I would have been devastated. Imagine a life with no chance of improvement, growth, change, or progression. Imagine eternally being stuck or limited. When we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, it opens the door for progression. We are given the opportunity to continue to learn and progress in knowledge now and after we leave this world and are resurrected.
Our investigator is different because he is not only willing to follow Jesus Christ, he also wants to follow. He wants to change, and he trusts that the Lord can help him. We can try to follow the steps that Christ has given us, but if we do it hesitantly, grudgingly, or withhold our hearts in any way, we will change our behavior, but we will not change our nature. The Lord cannot change us against our will. We need to not only follow because we know we have to, but also because we want to. When we do things that we want, we can change and grow as a mortal. When we give our whole heart and desires to Christ, he can change us.
I have seen the deep, lasting changes in missionaries and investigators who truly WANT to follow Christ, and this week I did my best to pray for that deep desire and teach it as well. It was amazing to feel the difference in Spirit as we not only asked people if they were willing to try and learn, pray, read, etc., but also asked them if they wanted to.
One day last week, we went to stop by an investigator's work in order to invite him to church, but he had already left town for Gawai (holiday in Sarawak). There was a middle-aged woman sitting at a table, and she seemed to have a different light in her eyes. We sat down with her, and immediately, she started sharing about how she was apprehensive about talking with us but had always felt there was something missing in her life, especially spiritually. It was a miracle to be in the right place at exactly the right time. I know the Lord is with us every single step of the way. As we follow the plan, qualify for the Spirit, seek the light, and open our mouths, he blesses us more than we could ever imagine.
There were so many other incredible experiences as we taught a nice young man from Africa, and another family who I had contacted weeks ago but ended up dropping because they were unable to meet. The Lord knows us. He knows where we're at, and he never forgets us. I know that every single experience we have in this life is for our good. All of the odds are stacked in our favor to succeed. Through every trial, hardship, joyful moment, or crossroads, we choose to either follow the Savior and gather light, or we choose to follow Satan and gather darkness.
I pray that I can continue to change not just my behavior and habits, but my very nature. I want to be like Christ. I want my will to be one with his, just as he prayed to the Father that it would be. I am grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful for the precious people that he trusts me to interact with. I am grateful for my testimony and the path to conversion that I have embarked on. I pray that I can continue to serve with all of my HEART, might, mind, and strength. I will not count the cost, I will do what He wants me to do.
Love, Elder Lloyd