Thursday, March 29, 2012

Aaron's email March 27, 2012

Dear Family,
It is so great to hear from you both and humbling to hear that you recieved those kind words from President Ellsworth and Brother Peterson. I will be telling you of my experience with bro peterson in a minute. But i would like to thank you for all that you have done for me. Those comments are certainly attributed to you both for raising me the best that you have, i am grateful for you both pushing me to succeed and achieve my goals, you have always supported and loved me no matter what, and i promise you that no matter how annoyed or frustrated i may have seemed growing up, i am grateful for everything that you have done for me, i would not be the person that i am today without you so thank you so very much i love you dearly. That is incredible to hear about the man you are reactivating! His story is somewhat similar to a man that we are working with (Santiago, i will tell you about him in a minute as well in the Miracle March update). It is absolutely humbling and incredible to witness and feel that sincerety from those willing to change everything to come to know our Father in Heaven better and make sacred covenants with Him. Some may seem like a King Lamoni's father's experience, willing to give up everything, their whole kingdom, others may be like the people of Ammon, they just have that "one thing" their "weapon of rebellion" that they bury deep in the earth as a result of their covenants. I will certainly keep Steve in my prayers. What a blessing the gospel is in this life, it truly can change us and others as we live and obey the first principles and accept the ordiances of the gospel. i hope you all have a wonderful time at Conference this weekend, i am extremely excited to hear what our beloved prophet and Christ chosen apostles and other leaders have prepared for us. i know that they have thought and fasted and prayed and thier words will be specifically for us and as we attend and watch and listen with an open heart and with our spiritual ears, the Lord will tell us exactly what He wants us individually to know through them.
i hope the job works out for ash and i also hope that work is going well for both of you! Things may be crazy and busy and hard, but i bet they are certainly worth it! Spiritually financially speaking, the Lord's return on investment is far greater than anything that this world can offer, wouldn't you agree? I too know that putting pride aside, or as i said "burying our weapons of rebellion" can be hard, but submitting to the Lord's will will bring so many blessings and miracles and is so worth it.
These may require back story (which leads me to talk about bro peterson then leading into santiago). On thursday last week we had a training in which two representatives from the missionary department were there to help us out and help us more fully become instruments in the Lord's hand. Brother Watson and Bro Peterson helped us more fully understand and apply the Doctrine of Christ in everything that we do, when we "build upon the rock of our Redeemer" we are building upon the Doctrine of Christ, everything that we teach and do is an appendange to this doctrine. What is this doctrine? We often refer to it also as "the gospel" or those first principles and ordinances i mentioned earlier. When it comes down to it, it must help us build our faith in the Savior, have a desire to repent and change, recieve baptism or the sacrament, feel the Holy Ghost more in our lives and endure more. So, we focused on the Restoration, however, not the restoration of the church but the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and practiced building upon this "sure foundation" for our lessons and our teaching. It's incredible to see how much work it takes and how long i have to go before even being partially capable of teaching haha but that's what it's all about, that's a good thing that i still have room to improve, for if i didn't, i would be in some serious trouble. But on the ride back to PQ, we were able to give bro peterson a ride up there and all the way we were talking about what we just learned and how we can more fully apply these principles, he taught me and practiced with me in the car, we role played and practiced and evaluated in the car, it was incredible! I realize this to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, so it was extrememly humbling. We then went and had a lesson with Santiago and his girlfriend who is investigating the church Samantha. guess what we taught? you guessed it the restoration of the gospel of jesus christ. needless to say, we had a lot of help from the spirit and tried to follow those gentle whisperings and promptings, what a lesson that was! the spirit was intense and Samantha accepted a baptismal date for the 28th of April! we will continue to help her receive the gospel and do everything we can to help her prepare for that date. but the lesson is not over, we then invited Santiago to offer the closing prayer (backstory, he is a Marine who has been out of the church for a while and does truly desire to change and feel the presence of the Holy Ghost more in his life. ok back in) and when he began praying, after about fifteen seconds it went silent, i kept my head down in hopes that he would not feel embarassed and would keep praying, my companion looked up from the prayer a couple of times and tried to help him through because we didn't want him to feel embarassed or we had not taught him how to pray, but he couldn't say a word, and then Santiago started to cry, he began to offer up the desires of his heart to our Heavenly Father and the spirit was so incredibly strong. we got up from that prayer and we all embraced Santiago and he said to us "that was the first prayer i've said in a long time". What an incredible experience and how wonderful the gift of prayer and repentance is, all possible because of our Savior and His loving sacrifice for us. the repentance process is a beautiful thing and that is truly how we can individually access that healing power of the Atonement, it is real, i testify to each of you that the Atonement is real and has the power to heal all wounds, no matter how big or how small. We then the next day had the opportunity to teach Jen, the wife of a less-active member whom we are also teaching and reactivating the gospel. That lesson we taught, listend and discerned as best we possibly could and Jen's goal is to come to a decision, or to receive revelation about the church (Jen has been taught by missionaries for a few years, so she knows a lot of the doctrine and chances are that she has already recieved an answer, we just need to help her recognize and understand the holy ghost in her life). The member that we were with, Bro. Smith bore powerful testimony of the sealing power taken place in the Holy Temple and Jen does have real intent, she was able to come to church this past sunday and both she and her husband stayed for all three hours. This is the Lord's work and i am blessed to be able to be a part in it.
Well family i must go, but it was great to hear from you and i wish all of you the best and know that this gospel is true, it is the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ and He is our Savior and Redeemer. Until next time,
Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Aaron's email March 20th 2012

Dear Family,
It's great to hear from you! That's really exciting to see and hear about everything that is going on!  Has Ashley received my letter I sent a while ago? I hope so and hope that she is doing well! By the way i am unable to view the videos you sent at the moment, the computer I use at the library is not equipped with the proper software, so hopefully someday soon I'll be able to view them. I bet that little Nolie is not so little anymore, and I'm going to have a nephew?? holy smokes!! that's so cool. How did your lesson go with your recent converts Dad? what did you teach? do you use Preach My Gospel? I know that she will become comfortable in your gospel essentials class, do you two teach that every week? do a lot of people attend your class? We have a few people come to both of our wards GE class, and our WML teaches in PQ3 and we have a teacher in PQ1 but we fill in wherever we can:) City creek sounds like it'll be a blast! and Mal will be an incredible teacher! How are the Goasy's? they wrote me when i first came out and i wrote them back but i haven't heard from them in a while. i hope all is well with them and the Cooks as well. Oh quick request! could i get some pictures of the family for my birthday? like physical pictures to look at?
For our St Patty's day we wore green ties and we had district meeting and Elder Saager and we were able to help out with PQ1's ward talent night and be the piano pushers haha, Elder Saager said he signed me up to sing but it didn't happen, but there were a lot of people who attended, including a couple of the people that we are working with, so that was great to see! Did i tell you about the challenge we had with one of our investigators? Well to update you on that, she did it! but she admitted to us she read pretty fast and may have missed a few things.  I love the Book of Mormon with all my heart, being able to read and to study it daily brings a new sense and a new level of peace and joy that i didn't think was possible, i know that it is truly the word of God and daily i grow closer to my Father in Heaven by reading and learning from the wonderful examples throughout the Book of Mormon.

Alright Miracle March update!! the night of the talent show we were talking to the smith's (a member family in our ward) and they told us they were trying to find us all day the Sunday before but we were no where in sight (which we're always running all over like crazy on Sundays to try and catch people so that's totally understandable) but they told us about an amazing experience that they had the past week. they were at a work dinner and the woman sitting at the table with them found out that they were members of the church and she(the non-member) LOVES David Archuletta, and she was asking them all about how the whole "mission" thing works because he is going to be serving. They told her a little bit about the church and they then told them that there are two missionaries actually serving near her home, and they could send them over, to this she replied "Really? great!" so we have since gotten her address and have gone by (but no one was home) so we'll keep on being persistent and we're always happy to talk about missionary work, so we've found that David Archuletta is a new way to find people to teach or to bring up the church in conversation with people. On Sunday Phil came to church, he's 3 weeks strong! His wife is the recent convert and he came for sacrament meeting and he's been enjoying it, and he is meeting a lot of the ward and making a lot of contacts with the church (he loves playing basketball with the men on Thursday evenings and our ward mission leader has a biking group that they go out and road bike once a week all together that Phil is planning on attending) and in PQ1 there were 3 Less-active families that came to church that we have been praying for and working with and they came on the right Sunday because it was the high council Sunday in that ward and the high councilor over missionary work spoke and his talk is one i like to call "the landmark talk for less-active members" he spoke about how they should come back to the gospel and don't worry about feeling uncomfortable or not knowing anybody's name or anything like that, i really cannot do it justice but he shared "the allegory of the 1972 Ford F-250" which was a great way to begin his talk, and it was incredible. A few things that he spoke about stuck out to me because i was thinking about mom's situation and he spoke on a few aspects of even those who move to a different ward (hint hint haha). He said to "be the person that you need" to say hi and to be the friend that you are looking for and he also counseled "don't hold an impossible standard- you're coming off goodbyes, missing friendships, so it's going to be a lot harder and we should do our best to avoid the thoughts of 'what does this ward have to offer?'". I know that we may feel uncomfortable at times, not knowing anyone or seeing so many unfamiliar faces, but he challenged us to be a friend to the friendless and to strive for and pray for help in adjusting to a new culture, a new home. Also we were able to go out with Bro. Smith who is just moving from Texas (he used to be the ward mission leader) and we were able to see some part-member families in the ward and one experience was incredible to me thinking and looking back upon it, we went and saw sister Jones, whom we've never met before and just got to talking and she found out that my companion has type 1 diabetes (don't worry I've been trained, i know what to do haha) and her husband has type 2 (he's not a member of the church) and so our discussion went to health and i was prompted to bring it back and to speak about how the world as a whole is truly coming to realize (maybe without even knowing) the true importance of the Word of Wisdom and how the Lord truly knows what's good for us and that He wants us to be healthy and clean and later on in our conversation, sister Jones brought up how she and her husband would like to quit smoking, and we offered to help them overcome that addiction and they are going to talk and pray about it together so they both can be there for each other through it and i know that our conversation was directed by the spirit to the Word of Wisdom to help sister Jones overcome her fear of attending church with the smell and simply wanting to stop. we hope and pray that we will be able to help the Jones' in their endeavor. I have really come to see the daily miracles that the Lord provides, even those small and seemingly insignificant miracles that oft times get overlooked. To this comes my thought of the week, "do not suppose that God willfully causes that which for His own purposes, He permits" there is a BIG difference between cause and permit to happen, we must keep in mind that there are so many things that He does prevent in our daily lives, that the Savior does anonymous service for us every single day, how many times do we pray for safety throughout the day, and we are safe?-little things like that. I know that when we truly do "count our MANY blessings" that the Lord will truly open our eyes so that we may truly see His bounteous blessings and His hand in every aspect of our lives. I love this work and i know that it is truly His work, i know that the Book of Mormon testifies and brings us closer to Christ and i know that He lives and loves each and every one of His children. Thank you for all that you do for me and i pray that you will each have gospel sharing experiences this week with which i hope that you will share with me:) I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers, until next time.
-Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Aaron's email March 13, 2012

Dear Family,
I hope all is well. It sounds like you all had a great weekend with Adam, Anna and little Nolie!  My week was good! let's just say this month can be entitled MIRACLE MARCH:) but I'll get to that in a minute. As for my birthday, i really don't know. . .i don't really need anything besides maybe a new short-sleeve white shirt or two, a tie, and i know this is a silly request but if dad still has that Seiko watch he wanted to give me before. . .that would be nice:) if he got rid of it that's understandable haha. but with the white shirts and ties, that's really all i want/need, just the basics and essentials, it's what i wear everyday and they wear out pretty fast, plus if you get them at Mr. Mac, you'll get 50% off because you have a missionary in the field:), i think you just have to bring my call letter or something to prove that i actually am on a mission haha. Is there anything that Ashley wants or that you want for Mother's day coming up?
Alrighty so on to why this month is Miracle March. Well we know that the Lord's tender mercies are over all His children (1 Ne. 1:20) and how he does indeed provide for His children, everything that He sees fit to inflict upon us-- whether that be blessings, or learning experiences (when in reality they are both blessings, the latter just takes us a little while longer to recognize that it's a blessing haha). Every day the Lord provides miracles, whether within ourselves, our work, or the people that we are working with and i sure have made an effort to keep my "spiritual eyes" peeled these past few weeks and make a conscious effort to recognize and record the Lord's hand in my day, i've found countless miracles that He provides for me. I'll start with Sunday, it was ward conference in both PQ 1 and PQ3 wards and they were completely focused on the Temple, which was incredible, and in the 3rd ward we had Phil, a husband of a Recent Convert we are working with come to church for the second time! and the back story on Phil is that he was one that was completely closed off to the church and to the missionaries when his wife began investigating the church, but he has opened up a lot and we do service on Saturday's at their home and just talk to Phil and he has opened up a lot to us, he's been reading the Bible and he read our heritage and is reading our search for happiness and is in chapter 7 of first Nephi, Phil is a reading machine! We've definitely found that "charity never faileth" and he has come to church and when he heard the talk about the Temple (which when he came the first time, the talks were also about Temples) He knew it was no coincidence, he does not believe in coincidences. so his wife, needless to say is focusing on the Temple, and she even went and did baptism for the dead this past Friday as well too! She absolutely loved it and said the spirit was so strong, she is incredible! Well continuing on with Sunday, right after the 3rd ward we had to jet over to the Black Mountain YSA branch for Oliver's baptism! and he asked me if i would be the one to baptize him, which was again one of the most humbling experiences ever, it was so incredible to see Oliver, the person we met during Christmas who came to church just seeking to fill a need in his life, enter into this covenant with our Father in Heaven and be able to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, in his testimony, he said that he could feel the Holy Ghost enter into his heart and he desired all to feel the same way that he did at that moment (which reminds me of Lehi's dream-which I've been reading as a challenge to finish the book of 1 Nephi by Saturday with one of our investigators Jen- but when Lehi partook he desired that his family should come and partake also, that all should partake of the fruit of the tree, or the love of God, or the Atonement- as Oliver had this day and he like Lehi, desired all to partake as well) THEN with that same overflow of the spirit that poured into our hearts we did our best to carry that with us to an appointment we had with Santiago (a Less-Active) and Samantha (his non-member girlfriend), and we talked about the Holy Ghost, it was absolutely incredible, the spirit was so strong as we talked and testified and invited this couple, i learned so much in that lesson about the spirit and how it works. Santiago expressed to us that he wants to be able to feel the fire again and Samantha has expressed that she would like to feel the comfort and guidance that can come from this constant companionship. THEN we went to a mission president's fireside and i was able to sing with the choir and nothing invites the spirit faster than wholesome music and that was incredible! Oh! i forgot that in PQ1 a future missionary (Cole) brought two friends to church and we were able to talk with them and show them around and talk about families and testify of how much this gospel has blessed our lives, Marcus and Bella are their names, and we heard that on the way home that Bella was asking how does baptism work with marriage and that she liked that the church is family-oriented. Wow I've been scattered all over the place but that's just a few of the many miracles that have been happening here in Miracle March. I pray that each and every one of you will "look up!" and recognize and record the Lord's hand in your lives, for i know that He is truly there leading and guiding every step of the way. Did anyone have any incredible experiences this past week? I know that this is His work, not mine and i know that when i pray, He hears my prayers and gives me exactly what i need that will help me to more fully become who He knows that i can become. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He truly is our Savior and Redeemer and He loves us more than we can ever imagine because of what He went through for us, i that this Church is true and bear my witness that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God.
and by the way i live to serve another 6 weeks here in Penasquitos and i look forward to every minute of it! There are many opportunities that lie ahead, now it's time to forget myself and "get to work!" as the family adage goes.
Well family i love you all so very dearly and want to thank you all for everything that you do and for your love and support and hope that each of you have a wonderful week and always remember those "tender mercies" and are aware that this truly is MIRACLE MARCH. take care, until next time,
Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd
"true ministry is measured more by the depth of our charity than by the perfection of our statistics" -Julie B. Beck

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Aaron's email March 6, 2012

Dear Family,
It's great to hear from you and to hear about the exciting events of life and all that has been happening. That's great that Hayden was able to follow the example of our Savior Jesus Christ into the waters of baptism and enter into the covenant with Him. So his parents are members? Though less-active, it's incredible the support that they have for their son. I hope that your eye gets better Dad and i hope all goes well in mom's life as well, life seems to be busy and hectic.
That's great to hear about Elder Campbell becoming a Zone Leader! He is such an incredible, loving person that i know that those missionaries with whom he is called to serve among will equally love and respect him as well. I got a st. patty's day card from Carol today, and cards from the WC4th ward young-women and primary as well. I send my love and best wishes to them, they are a wonderful group. I hope that you both are liking the new ward and are getting along well and learning people's names and faces. I agree with your pride comment Dad, when pride rears it's ugly head, the spirit flees quicker than a goat before two lions, only when humility is present can the Spirit of the Lord dwell in abundance.
Alrighty! sorry i don't reply to everything but here we go! I promised that i would include excerpts from our Elder Zwick conference a couple weeks ago so here we go. one main principle that he taught us was ". . . and He will". now his wife had told a story of when they had been first called as a mission president and wife and the first day they got there in the mission home they received a phone call, it was one of their missionaries that had just been held at gun point in a church building that was then burning to the ground and he was calling from a nearby pay phone with just a suit-jacket on. how would you like that to be your first phone call? sis Zwick 
 was frightened, overwhelmed and terrified of the next 3 years that lie ahead and she said, "i can't do this", to this her 9yr old son replied, "don't worry mom, Heaven Father will help you" which the words of 1 Nephi 3:7 echoed in her mind to which came the principle and statement "i will not limit myself by what i think i am capable of, i will allow the Lord to expand my capacity. . .and He will". many times in life and in this work we limit ourselves to what we think we are capable of when in fact our Heavenly Fathers knows that we have so much more potential and are capable of handling, doing, and becoming so much more. I know this to be true and i know that as we do allow the Lord to expand our capacities, to step outside of our comfort zones, He will strengthen us in ways we could not even imagine, He truly will.
You may recall me telling you all about Oliver and that he was planning his baptism, well that will be happening this Sunday! He has been attending the YSA branch up here and has been taught by the sister missionaries, when preparing the program he requested that i be the one to baptize him and that my companion be the one to confer him. This is an incredible honor. There is one thing, i may be joining him in wearing the jump-suits as i may not be able to fit into my baptismal pants anymore. . . no need to worry about me being fed mom, the members of the PQ 1 and 3 wards feed missionaries REALLY well haha nonetheless it is extremely exciting and we are looking forward to Sunday.
Also this past week, we were able to begin teaching 2 individuals, Jen and Samantha. Both have very unique stories. Samantha requires a back story, a few weeks ago we had a lesson with our EQ pres and his family and asked if there was anyone that we could go see for him, he in turn gave a few names of some individuals that he had been worried about, we also challenged he and his family to a missionary challenge. It took us a few weeks to see the individuals, timing and catching them at home and all. but as soon as we called to follow up he sounded extremely excited and said "Elders, i just got done meeting your new referral". the ward had recently received records for an individual that just got out of the marines and so our EQ pres and his companion went and paid him a visit, while they were there, his girlfriend was asking a lot of questions and they invited them to be taught by the missionaries and since then we have had one lesson with them and are scheduled to have another this Sunday evening with them. Jen is one who has been taught by missionaries for years, her husband is less-active, and we went over and were a bit bold and invited them both to move forward in the gospel to which they accepted the invitation and we will be meeting with them on Saturday
This Sunday i was touch by the primary children singing their beautiful song for us of "my own little lamp" and "i want to be a  missionary now" in their singing time. The spirit was so strong and almost brought me to tears it was so incredibly powerful. Those little ones are the missionaries, the future leaders of the Church, and they are so pure and incredible.
Well family i have got to go but i hope that all is well and that you all have a fantastic week and keep safe! i love you all dearly and hope that the spirit will lead and guide you to those whom He has prepared just for you to be able to share the gift of the Gospel with. D&C 84:85, as you follow the spirit, i promise that you will be able to give "that portion which shall be meted unto every man" to that specific person at the time they need it. again i love you all so much. thank you for your love and support.
Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd

Friday, March 2, 2012

Zone Conference with Elder Zwick Feb 2012

Aaron's Email Feb 28 2012

Dear family,
I hope all is well and it sounds like your stake conference went really well, i too know that the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true all over the earth, that it is built upon the rock of Christ and of revelation and is led by a living prophet. I love what you took away and i hope that you will always remember those things which you learned and were taught by the Holy Ghost.
Our conference with Elder Zwick was absolutely incredible! We were taught and learned so much about how much our missions prepare us for the rest of our lives, they will remain with us and as we "become" disciples throughout our missions, that journey continues throughout our lives, just as Peter's journey was a lifelong becoming process. Preach My Gospel will always be a part of my life and i will definitely include bits and pieces of what i learned through my letters next week, because of time. . .
I have been reading about Alma's ministry in the Book of Mormon and i absolutely love the scriptures and reading about his first attempt at the people of Ammonihah, it didn't go so well, he began to turn away and he was pretty depressed that none would listen to his words, an angel appeared to him (the same angel that appeared at his conversion! now that's a tangent in and of itself that i will not take at the present time haha) but gave him reason to rejoice, that he was doing his duty, he was faithful in keeping the commandments, and then he was commanded to return to Ammonihah. so what did Alma do? he didn't just return to the city, he "speedily returned" to Ammonihaha. He was incredibly obedient and had such great faith in the Lord to guide him to those that would hear him. Amazingly enough, the very first person he talked to, he asked a question of "wilt thou feed an hungry servant of the Lord?" and Amulek says "i know who you are, an angel showed you to me, i know that you're a prophet, come to my home and i will feed you" i know those are not exactly Amulek's words, but he was the first person Alma talked to, i know that the Lord provides for each of His children, 1 Nephi 3:7 is incredibly true. I love the scriptures and this work.
Sundays are days of miracles! Phil, the husband of a recent convert that we've been working with; we usually do service every week for their family and he asks us questions and has been reading the Bible, first, he began reading the Book of Mormon (miracle), and asking us questions about it (miracle), then he found out that i would be singing at church (miracle that i could sing haha) and he said he might be interesting in coming, and he came! all of the talks were completely inspired and for him, they were about Eternal marriage, an Experience in China (he's Chinese) and one related to science (he's a huge science guy). Needless to say my smile could not be wiped away by anything this sabbath day, it was incredible.
Have there been any great experiences this past week? Also, the baptism that you had in the ward, how were they found? are they doing well? Are you both enjoying your callings? i know that this is His church and that this life truly is the time to prepare to meet God, i love this gospel and i love this work and these people. I wish you well and will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers!
Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd
"true spiritual power lies in numerous smaller acts, woven together in a fabric of spiritual fortification"