Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Aaron's email from November 29, 2011

Dear Family,

Happy late Thanksgiving! Sorry that I missed you last week, I completely understand that things were hectic getting ready to go and having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. It sounds like you all really had a great time, I'm glad to hear that those who were in attendance enjoyed the food, the family and the fun of the season. As for the “Dixie Crack”, I’m sorry to hear that they didn't venture in, that is one of the funniest things to climb through, but just adventuring and hiking around Dixie mtn is also a very peaceful and serene experience, I'm glad to hear all went well and all is going well in each of your lives.

Thank you so much for your kind words and support and uplifting thoughts, and I promise that I will do all I can, everyday, never say never and never take no for an answer.

I suppose I will let you know how my Thanksgiving went, we were blessed enough to have two dinners, and I have no idea how I packed it all in there, I think I’m finally coming out of my turkey coma though. Our first appointment was out in Jacumba, the farthest east that our area goes and the house that we went to is the farthest east house in the town and the food was delicious and the family is really kind and welcoming. We had pisole, a Mexican soup that Phil, the father made and we also had turkey and all the trimmings. Immediately after that appointment we returned to Alpine for our second dinner appointment, still full mind you, which was at Kevin's house. Kevin is one of our investigators that we are working with and praying to have a baptismal date with the first week of January. It was another delicious meal with amazing company and the spirit of thanksgiving abounded; those who were in attendance were Elder McGee and I, Kevin, his mother and father Peggy and Charlie, and Kevin's daughter Kaylee. It was a wonderful evening and being able to spend the day with these two families was a great experience. Again I honestly don't know how I was able to eat everything that I did, but I am thankful that I was able to :)

I also wanted to thank you for your talks again, I really loved reading and studying them and I am so very grateful and blessed to have wonderful parents who love this gospel and have such firm and steadfast testimonies in it and of the Savior and of His Atoning sacrifice for us. Your testimonies uplift and inspire me and help my own to grow, I thank you for sharing and sending those to me. Romans 5:3-4 from dad's talk stood out to me this past week and mom's pride quote also stood out to me and I am truly grateful for all that you have done for me in my life and have allowed me to have this wonderful experience to serve the Lord.

This past week we heard from our bishop and got to talking about the scriptures, he shared an experience that he had with a passage of scripture that stood out to him in a way that has stood out to him before. He was sitting at his desk and he could hear from his daughter's room the Book of Mormon on CD, and it was telling of the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. These people made a covenant with the Lord and to stay true to that covenant, they buried their swords deep in the earth. These swords represented what had separated these people from the lord, and to relate to each of us, we all have our "swords" in each of our lives, whatever it may be; nonetheless it is one that separates us from God and keeps us from partaking of all the blessings that He has in store for us. With Christmas just around the corner, what better gift can we give to the Lord to show to Him that we truly love and accept His Atoning sacrifice and the power of the Atonement into our lives than by burying our individual "swords" deep into the earth and forsaking them in order to partake of the miraculous blessings that He has in store for us.

We have an appointment with Steve this week, whom we were able to teach this past week and his girlfriend, who does not want to get married unless it's forever, was in town and was able to attend and we talked to him about the gospel and how he can personally feel the Atonement in his own life and we look forward to meeting with him this week. He has many questions and desires knowledge and understanding, I know that as we teach, not from our own understanding but by the power of the spirit, he will be able to feel and know for himself, we will be following up with his commitment to read from the Book of Mormon and pray specifically about the message it contains. He is an amazing man and truly has a desire to learn for himself and I know that he will as he seeks this knowledge with a sincere heart. I know that Moroni's promise is true and can be put to the test with this sacred book of scripture. He has asked us to "prove [Him] now herewith" and He will manifest the truth of these things unto us in every aspect of our lives.

I've also found that concerning how the Lord answers our prayers come in many different ways, many times the answer comes from a simple phrase of scripture, many times the answer is not clear or defined but in many cases the answer that we may receive will come in the impression of "ye know what ye must do" 3 Nephi 27:21. The Lord has trusted us with our judgment to exercise our agency and to find out for ourselves, because it is given to us to choose, and we know good from evil. Moroni 7. so many times, the Lord knows that we have a good head on our shoulders and trusts us enough to study it out in our minds and decide for ourselves, we may then take our decision back to Him and verify the truth of our decision.

My scripture of the week comes from Doctrine and Covenants 98:12 "for he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith" and also 2 Nephi 25:13 I may have already shared this but the simple phrase of "my heart doth magnify His holy name" along with quote "the tag doesn't make you a missionary, it's your heart"

I thank you again for everything that you have done and sacrificed for me to be able to serve the Lord, I will go and do with all my heart, might, mind and strength and I love and care deeply for each of you and will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd

Monday, November 28, 2011

Aaron's Email of 22 November, 2011

Dear Family,
I suppose I'm writing much earlier than I have in the past couple of weeks but I hope that all is well with you and look forward to hearing from you next week. A little update on the past week, still a little bit slow, but keeping busy, and each day is a new day and the sun is still shining in Alpine, well most days at least. We've had some good rain storms the past little while, and it gets pretty cold in Alpine, probably nothing like it is in your neck of the woods, but a little bit chilly. I thank you for sending your talks, I received them last week and have been reading them, well, I've started with dad's and I'm still working on reading it and it is wonderful, I am still working on my "third brick". 
This past Sunday we were able to attend ward council and the conversation went a little like this. Bishop " so, sister x, and brother x (the YM/YW presidents) is that fireside still on for tonight?" Brother and sister x "it sure is" Bishop" elders are you prepared?" Us "...of course. . ." Bishop and YMYW presidents "oops, sorry we forgot to tell you that you are our speakers at the youth fireside tonight, are you free to do that?" Us-"we most certainly are". So, Elder McGee and I got to speak at a youth fireside Sunday Evening and we spoke about some aspects that helped us prepare both physically and spiritually to serve missions. Now, we did not focus on the primary/seminary/Sunday school answers to that question, we focused more on some unique aspects, events that helped us prepare to serve the Lord. Lo, and behold the very first thing that came to my mind (dad, you'll be pleased with this one) was golf. Granted, most of the kids reactions were "how on earth did golf prepare you to serve a mission??" to me the answers to that question are- it helped me in so many ways I can barely identify all of them. Golf taught me many principles and attributes that one must either acquire or learn while on a mission, one of which being patience- mainly with yourself. There are those days when you just can't seem to get the ball off the ground let alone in the hole in enough strokes to break even. as are days in the field, there are those days when no one is home (or answers the door) that no one seems to be receptive, but learning to be patient with yourself, knowing that there is a new hole after this one, a new day a new door, a new person, it brings peace and comfort. There is also accountability-in golf, you keep your own score, it's you against yourself, who's going to know if you shave a few strokes off that past hole? YOU WILL. as it is in the mission, we have accountability to ourselves, our leaders and the Lord. we will know if we really put all our efforts into our day, if we truly did all we could do, more importantly than that, the Lord is aware of that as well.
I guess those are just a few points that I covered concerning that topic, there were certainly many more aspects and many other things that helped me prepare physically and spiritually for my mission, but as I have limited time, I will save those for a later date.
But I was also reminded of the story that was shared in conference a while ago and by John Bytheway when I went to a fireside that he spoke at. He brought up the $5 job story of the boy and the duchess, that day he spent all day working, leveling, trimming, weeding and giving all of his time to be able to do a $5 job which he chose the amount he got paid. He was determined to accomplish a $5 job, as am I with being in the service of the Lord, I truly want this experience to be a $5 job, looking back, doing all that I could do, always doing one more thing and putting everything that i have into every minute of every day, and at the end, I choose how much it was worth. That's the goal, to be a $5 job missionary, even more so than that. to be obedient in every way, to work hard every day and to follow the spirit without delay.
I thank you for your support and encouragement and your prayers. I have also been studying my conference notes alongside with the general conference issue of the Ensign, we are so blessed to be able to have such a wonderful gift at the tips of our fingers and I know that President Monson is a true and living prophet and he leads and directs the church today, and I also know that the Savior is at the head of this church and it is His church, it is true and I know it with every fiber of my being. daily I am blessed to be able to be serving the Lord and I thank you for allowing me to have this wonderful experience. I love you all dearly and hope and pray that you have a wonderful week.
Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd
TOTW -look up the song "a window to His love" it has been in my mind and heart the past while and is truly an amazing song some of the words that stand out to me are found within the chorus of the song:
A window to His love,
A doorway to the truth,
A bearer of the message,
He'd have me bring to you
And with each passing day,
I want to fade away,
Till only He, can be seen,
And I become,
A window to His love
Again I send my love and support and hope this letter finds you all well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Aaron's email of November 15, 2011

Dear Family,

It's wonderful to hear from you, I know this email will probably be coming in pretty late, but we had the wonderful opportunity to attend the temple today for our preparation day and it was amazing, I love being able to enter into the Lord's house and to feel the spirit there, especially the spirit of Elijah that is so infectious and those who we do their temple work for, we can definitely feel that it is accepted. The temple is beautiful and we went there with our zone so it was an amazing experience for all of us who were in attendance. Especially since this was Elder McGee's first trip to the San Diego Temple. It sounds like things are going well. Many interesting things have happened that have caused this past week to be amazing and not so amazing within a couple of days. I'll explain in a minute with that. 

The Rav-4 is a good car, zippy too. That will definitely get you safely to and from STG during the winter time. We have plans for Thanksgiving, two dinner appointments actually, so no need to worry whether we will be fed or not Mom. Your plans for thanksgiving sound like they will be pretty fun, there will be a good group there to share the spirit of the season with and I do hope that it will be a great time. Good luck with your project today Mom and Dad, good luck in Midway as well, that sounds like it will be a great thing to get involved with, my best wishes are upon that. I will certainly read through James this next week, I love those chapters very much.

I'll explain about this past week; I probably told you about our new investigator that searched out her old friends and began looking into the church, well we received a phone call yesterday stating that she did not want to meet with us anymore and that the church and this gospel was not what she was looking for. It was a heartbreaking thing for us to hear, but we do know that everyone has their agency and how they exercise it is most definitely not in our hands. But all the while we both know that "it is better to look up" and look to the Savior and look forward with faith. Yes, there will be disappointments, there will be those times when the adversary steps in and takes over someone's life before they get the opportunity to accept Christ and His Atonement. But I assure you, we are not going to give up, never. As I was pondering the events of this week I was led to many scriptures, one of which being in D&C 68:4-6, more emphasis on verse 6 when it says, "be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am and that I am to come". When these things come our way, there is no need to get down, we truly can be of good cheer for the Lord is with us every step of the way, in each of our lives. and all the while of going through the temple the words of "be still my soul" were in my heart and mind all throughout and Psalms 46:10 echoes those words as well when they said "be still and know that I am God", He can speak peace to our hearts at all times in all things and in all places according to our language and our understanding (2 Nephi 31:3). Christ truly does know each of us personally and knows exactly what we are going through, because he has been there before, He has told us "I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me" if that does not provide a vivid image of how the Savior knows what we go through, I don't know what will. He is with us and can and will help us.

The past little while I have been studying diligence and I must thank you Dad for every letter that you have written reminding me to do "one more thing", those words have great power and great meaning in my life as well, I know that 'he that diligently seeketh shall find" and I firmly believe when it comes down to it, true diligence is having that faith to go out and do one more thing, even when you are too tired or too beat, no matter the situation, doing one more thing allows us to experience and feel God's great love for each of us. Showing that we are willing to take those few extra steps, to go just a little bit further, to do "one more thing", it also shows the principle of sacrifice, and as we know sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.

I know that the Savior lives, Jesus Christ, the Father of our pains, trials, sicknesses, worries, infirmities, lives and loves us. That power is real. He is always there for us. I love this work and this gospel. Not only is this "his work and his glory" but it is also my own, to invite others to come unto Jesus Christ and help them to accept the Atonement and wonderful blessings of this gospel.

I will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers, thank you all so very much for your support, love and prayers, I love each and every one of you dearly.
Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Aaron's Email of November 8, 2011

This past week has been a humbling and incredible week full of blessings and miracles. We received a referral from church headquarters to deliver a Book of Mormon to an interested woman who lives in Alpine. We tried to call her and set up an appointment, but she didn't answer, so we left a message. We tried to go by to knock on her door to meet her, but her home has a gate. All through this process I still had a positive feeling about it and kept praying that we would be able to meet her. Yesterday afternoon we received a phone call from our contact, Teresa, who apologized for not answering her phone as she was on vacation (a stay-cation) and invited us over that night. During that phone call and meeting with her and getting to know her, she came to find out and learn about the church through a grade school friend, whom she had not talked to in 45 years. She found this friend through friend finder and her friend shared the gospel with her because she remembers from back in elementary that this friend was and still is LDS and she remembered having a good feeling being with her and her family, and that her family was so happy and loving. This friend sent her the Ensign and some other information and a pass along card to call and get a copy of the Book of Mormon (this is where we come in). So we went over and she had a list of questions for us (which is always a good thing as a missionary-and as we were taught in general conference, it's better for them to ask than for us to tell). When we got there, she was on the phone with her friend who shared the gospel with her and her friend had answered almost all of her questions, so we were able to clarify and answer some more of her questions. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and we introduced it and testified of its divine origin and of the promise that it contains. She is a very kind and wonderful woman who is seeking truth and has a true desire and most definitely has real intent. That's not all, we also contacted another man who lives in the back country part of our area and his name is Steve, he has a girlfriend who is LDS and expressed to him that she does not want to get married unless it's forever, and our answer to that was "well we can certainly help with that", we explained how families can be together forever through the covenants made with God and the blessings of this gospel, he also accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and when we invited him to read the first chapter of 1 Nephi his response was "Oh I’ll read the whole thing". My main point in this is that this week has been full of blessings and miracles and wonderful amazing people and that the Lord truly does and is preparing His children to accept His gospel and it must be taught in such a way that applies to them, in essence and as is a big part of what we learn is to "teach people, and not lessons". As Elder Holland said "something in what they say will always highlight a gospel truth of which we can bear record and then offer more. . . if we listen with love, we won't need to wonder what to say, it will be given us by the spirit, and by our friends." This statement is so very true, by listening with spiritual ears we are able to highlight gospel truths in what our friends, our brothers and sisters, our fellow children are saying to us. That's not to say we enter into someone's home completely unprepared because that is not how the spirit works, we must treasure up in our minds continually the words of life, and seek to obtain His word before we declare it. when we've done our part and studied and planned and prepared, the spirit can work within us and give us that portion that shall be meted unto every man, in the very hour that it is needed, I would almost go so far as to say in the very second that it is needed. This is possible through the Holy Ghost, through diligent study, and what a wonderful gift the Holy Ghost is in each of our lives which we are able to have because of the restoration of the priesthood authority through Joseph Smith. I know that this gospel is true, that when the spirit enters into hearts, hearts are changed. Of this I bear my witness. This week has been filled with many mighty miracles, and along with that, many small miracles as well, that take place all around me, every second of every day, which brings me to my TOTW found in Ether 3:5 and it says "we know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men"- that sometimes, many times the greatest blessings that the Lord has prepared for us, come in small packages, and though they seem small, they are the most significant blessings we can receive. Let us each take time this next week to ponder upon this scripture and to "count our many blessings" for they truly are many, great and small, I know that He lives and loves each and every one of us and places these many blessings in our lives each and every day. This gospel is true, people all around us are being prepared to receive this gospel into their lives, let us also pray to be aware of these individuals and to recognize and to take the time, as Teresa's friend, to share. By small and simple things are great things brought to pass. Know of my love for each and every one of you and I hope that you continue to have a wonderful week. I continue to keep you in my prayers.
Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd