Dearest Family, July 19,2011
Received via email
I am here! My first assignment is . . . The Alpine Ward!! So I am east of San Diego and Alpine is a mountainous area. As a whole, my companion, Elder Perry and I, cover just about 1000 square miles, yes 1000. It’s safe to say we are in a car a lot of the time. Our area goes pretty far out east almost to El Centro but like I said very mountainous. When we head further east, the only paved road is I-8, the rest is dirt roads, so we have a truck :) as dad might say, “it's pretty groovy”. So far I’m loving the area and definitely getting to know it still but hopefully that will come with time. By the way my companion, Elder Perry, you may know his father, or listen to his radio broadcasts on Sundays on FM 100. Yes, he is Steven Kapp Perry's son, pretty cool eh? He is an amazing missionary and I am learning a lot from him. I would like some recommendations for LDS music, because we can request to get CD's from Elder's Perry's dad for free, so I am open to any artists that are spiritually uplifting and faith strengthening. Plus we really need music for the rides out east; we are in the car for hours at a time. We can't do a whole lot of tracting, seeing as the area is so vast and almost if not all the homes have gates so most of our finding efforts are through members, and they are amazing. The ward is very strong and supportive of the missionary effort, we are still showing them that we work hard and building their trust is key. Teaching with my companion is an amazing and faith strengthening experience, every time we teach I know with a stronger and stronger conviction that this is the Lord's gospel, that this gospel is for everyone and that the work I’m doing is His work. We have eaten with members a couple of times so far and it has been delicious. Our apartment is one bedroom and it's great.
As I have been reading and studying I have gained an even stronger testimony of the power of prayer and how important it is. Especially within the Book of Mormon, as the Savior visited the Nephites he healed the sick the knelt and prayed 3 Nephi 17:5. Then after the multitude was baptized, he departed and bowed himself to the earth 3 Nephi 19:19. He then taught them to pray and the He went a little way off and prayed 3 Nephi 19:27. If the savior felt the need for constant prayer, how much greater is our need, it is absolutely essential to our earthly life. Hymn 98 has so great a meaning “I need thee, oh, I need thee, every hour I need thee! Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee!" Pondering these words and the message contained in them, there is much power in them. Prayer is such an amazing opportunity we have to humble ourselves and turn to our Heavenly Father for guidance and direction. I know that as we put our faith and trust in Him, we will receive the guidance and strength that we need in each of our lives. I want you all to know that I truly love this gospel, I echo the words of Dad in that I know that Christ lives, that He is the Son of God, that His sacrifice for us was infinite and eternal. We truly have the opportunity to allow the Atonement to affect us every day of our lives. Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and restored His gospel to this earth. That sacred grove picture contains a wonderful quote, "what happened here changed the world, let it change your life" I testify that it has changed my life and I know that I am doing His work and that this is where the Lord needs me. You are all in my prayers, especially mom, I hope all goes well.
I love you all dearly.
Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd
ps- The Mormon battalion is definitely worth visiting! It is an amazing experience! It's a completely interactive experience and old town is beautiful as well. There’s my two cents on that, definitely worth it. I probably forgot to tell you all something so if I missed anything or if you would like to know anything else I'll make sure to include it next week.
I just remembered!!! Elder Perry and I have been assigned to set up a new branch in our area, the Campo Branch, it is going to be a lot of work and a lot of fun finding those members who would be active if one were to be set up. It would be a lot closer to a lot of members than the Alpine Ward so hopefully many less-actives would become active again. I am looking forward to this assignment and I’ll keep you updated! Love you all.