My apologies for the shortened letter the past week, hopefully this week will be a tad bit better. I thank you for all of your support and kindness and wonderful letters of love and encouragement and i just have to say mom, i know with all my heart that you are extremely close to the spirit because that quote of small and simple things, from Alma teaching his son Helaman, has been on my mind for the past little while and i have been studying that recently, i know that is an answer to my prayers and i thank you for always living close to the spirit. i will certainly keep Ashley in my prayers, she has been on my mind lately as well, and i will be sending the memory card hopefully soon, if not by next week that will have a video of a musical number that Elder Perry and i performed at a Spanish fireside on her birthday. The video is not the actual performance, but our practice a few days before, i was thinking about her a lot on that day and i hope and pray that all is well. Never give up, it's never too late or we are never too far off for the Savior's arms of mercy are and always will be extended to all of us. The party sounds like it was a blast! and i will be sending a package hopefully soon as well with the shirts and some other gifts for ashley's birthday and mother's day combined haha.
AWESOME APRIL update! so i already gave you the update with what happened this past sunday, it was an incredible fireside and completely in spanish and Elder Perry played the guitar and i backed him up singing "soy un hijo de Dios" en espanol. it was an incredible experience and Santiago and Samantha (whom we are teaching and also speak spanish) were able to make it as well and they said it was incredible, they loved it! Santiago and Samantha had us over for dinner on my birthday and they got me a cake! don't worry pictures will come, and we were able to have a lesson with them that evening as well. It is absolutely an incredible experience to be able to witness such changes in a person's life when they take hold and grasp the Gospel, when they "hold to the rod" and press forward with a perfect brightness of hope and taste of the love of God. The Gospel is so simple, as we shared last night for Elder Saager's birthday dinner with a recent convert family in the 1st ward: it's like a recipe. Now let me explain, you all know that i enjoy desserts, i enjoy even more the baking process and cooking in general, with a recipe, in order to achieve the desired results, we must follow what the recipe tells us and if we do, we can have confidence that we will end up with a delicious end result. There are certain steps we have to take in preparation and throughout the baking process that lead to a tasty treat. seeing that picture of the product causes us to work hard and focus diligently to make our food look like that picture. As it is with the Gospel, in order to achieve the desired end result, or the celestial kingdom, we must follow the recipe, or the live the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel. As we make the necessary preparations and excersize faith in our Savior, make necessary corrections in our lives through daily repentance, make the covenant of baptism and recieve the Holy Ghost and continue on the path to endure to the end, we are promised by the Father in 2 Nephi 31:20 that we "shall have eternal life"- the sweetest and most desirable end result there is. As we follow the recipe that has been laid out before us, as easy or difficult that it may seem to us at times, it will be worth the work in the end. That scripture i quoted also directs to do many other things, but we must also contnue to "feast upon the words of chirst. . .for the words of Christ will tell [us] all things what [we] should do" also 32:3. That book contains the recipe for our eternal happiness and as we read it and live by it's precepts, we will come closer to our Savior and be prepared to enter into His presence. Samantha is also preparing for her baptism on the 28th of this month! it's coming quick but she shared some incredible experiences with us she said "on my first day coming to church, i felt really good, i felt like it just fit, like it was a good fit" to this we inquired to her prayers and she knows that God has answered her prayers and she feels that she is on the right path. What an incredible blessing it is to be able to help these two come closer to our Savior all while i am doing the same along the way. We also had a lesson with Korena and Jay and her family, the family we started teaching because of David Archuletta. it went well, Korena certainly has a sincere heart and she began reading from the Book of Mormon and read the pamphlet we left and watched a portion of General conference as well, she truly desires to learn and come closer to Jesus Christ and we taught her more about the Book of Mormon and as she reads to focus on the feelings that she has as she reads and pray to our Heavenly Father. She expressed to us that she feels lost at times, in life, and has been praying for a while, and she also said that ever since we came by we've been on her mind, that she has been wanting someone to knock on her door to tell her "hey this is the way!" she said us being there was an anwer to her prayers as well, how humbling this past week has been! We are also working with Herbert to prepare him for baptism and an eternal marriage to his wife, who is a member, he has been through many missionaries and we know that he is close to the spirit and simply needs to live the gospel, to "experiment upon the word" and put it to the test for himself to recieve his answer. what an incredible experience it is to be on a mission! This is the Lord's work and this is His Gospel! He Lives!
This past week in sacrament meeting we recieved "the formula for success" now we learn this from the scriptures that this pattern and equation truly brings success in our lives, are you ready for the formula? it is D+D+D+D+D+D=S, now let me explain, it all begins with Desire-when we desire something, like desire to follow the Savior it become Determination and we are resolved in our desires and we then accquire Diligence in our efforst and seek the Savior and never give up, we have Dedication to follow Him and become like Him and have Dispcipline to put off the natural man and become a saint through the Atonement of Christ, ultimately this leads to succes, it leads to eternal life. This formula, when applied in every aspect of our lives will bring success to each and every one of us.
Dad-how is the man you have been working with on reactivating and bringing back to partake of the Atonement? Also how is the recent-convert family doing? I hope and pray that all is going well in the work and with your work in Midway as well.
Mom-how is school? are your children behaving? again thank you so very much for your thoughts and prayers on my behalf, and again for being so close to the spirit
Send Ashley my love and let her know that she has some presents coming her way in the next little while! she is amazing and i hope all is going well with her job!
Adam and Anna- Thank you so much for the wonderful gift, the card is the cherry on top! i hope and all is well with Linkin and and Nolie and school and work and i hope and pray that all are happy and healthy and know that i love and care about you and keep you in my prayers
i combined some questions and thoughs for sake of time, i hope that's ok for this week! Well family i love you dearly and i hope and pray that you all have a wonderful week and i know i have been slacking but, has anyone had any spiritual/missionary experiences they would like to share? Thank you for all that you do and for your exceptional love and kindness, i will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Know that i love this gospel with all my heart and i know that it is true with all my heart as well. Christ lives and loves us, he is never far from each and every one of us, the power of God is only a prayer away.
Love,Elder Aaron Jordan Lloyd