Monday, March 27, 2017

First Exhange

March 27, 2017

I feel like I start every email talking about what an awesome week it's been but every week so far as been awesome so I can't help it! This week was super cool though. ;) So last Sunday we had a guy named Alec just show up at church, no one knew who he was or where he came from. Sister Sanders and I went up and talked to him and it turns out that he had a Mormon friend and they had talked about religion and he grew up in a church but he noticed some flaws. He told us that he had started researching churches just for the sake of learning but that he was super interested in ours and so he figured out what church he would go to and decided to come! We said that was awesome and asked him if he would be interested in meeting with us to learn more and he said yes! We met with him yesterday and told him our end goal was for him to know the church is true and to decide to be baptized and then we asked him what his purpose was in meeting with us and he said "I know that eventually I want to be baptized, so yeah." We were a little shocked and said "that's awesome! We can make that happen!" and moved on with the lesson. It was great! 


Tuesday was a long day! We had zone conference and then a meeting with the bishops in our stake so it was a long day of sitting at the stake center. When Sister Sanders and I got home we were having a good talk and then all of a sudden the biggest, nastiest bug I've seen (okay actually it was small it was just freaky looking and I don't love bugs) Comes flying at our fan and attacking our light bulbs. Obviously we had to kill it! Sister Sanders jumped into action and grabbed her hairspray and the fly swatter. The bug had landed on the ceiling outside of our kitchen and we pulled our chairs over and planned our attack. I would spray him with the hairspray so he couldn't escape and she would smack him with the swatter. Ready, go! Until the hairspray was empty. The pressurized air came out but no hairspray! The air made him angry and he started moving and buzzing so we had to get something! I grabbed the closest sprayable liquid... Febreeze. I just started spraying him as fast as I could but the nozzle was on mist so I had to spray it like 30 times to even have it bother him. He dropped and Sister Sanders jumped down and swatted him! We managed to kill the bug but our apartment WREAKED of Febreeze so bad for over an hour. Oh well!  


On Thursdays we go on campus to the main building and we have a table that we set up and we stand there for like four hours and try to talk to people... to be honest it's not my favorite activity. People try so hard to avoid us but overall it's okay. Anyway, we were there handing out pass along cards and I had two left and three guys were walking towards us so I asked Sister Sanders for one of hers and then I started trying to talk to them. I said hi and asked how they were doing the one responded and said hi and that they were good. My next sentence was "Can I give y'all one of these ca....." and he cut me off and says "NOPE!" and kept walking. I was honestly shocked. Usually people are much more kind. I think my jaw almost hit the floor! Anyway, the one who was rude and the one right next to him started laughing and kept walking. The third one stopped and looked at them like they were the worst people on the planet and came over to me and says "I'm so sorry about him, he's an *******. I'm so sorry. Can I please have one of your cards?" Sister Sanders and I busted up and I gave him a card. I honestly wasn't even mad his friend was rude because that made up for it! It was the best. 


Well we have a non member who comes to our ward, James, and he has had a lot of problems with missionaries in the past (he also as Asperger Syndrome) and I don't know specifics but I know it was bad enough he decided to stop taking lessons. He still comes to church and all of the activities but he isn't a member and doesn't meet with missionaries. Last week Sister Sanders noticed that he is a lot friendlier with us than usual and it turns out, for some reason, he has taken a liking to me. I didn't know there were any problems there but I just was nice to him and made an effort to say hi and get to know him. Well his good friend in the ward told us last week that he thought James might be willing to take lessons from him but probably not from missionaries and we said that was great and gave him pamphlets and moved on with life. Well his friend texted us late last week and told us James gave him permission to give us his number to try to talk him into lessons. I was beyond excited! I talked to James at church yesterday about it and he said he would think about it. I texted him today and he said he would meet with us! I'm so excited that I could help the Lord make him feel more comfortable with missionaries. It's a humbling experience to be able to teach him. 


Friday and Saturday we had exchanges, my first exchange. I went to Nixa and was companions with Sister Robison for a day and a half! She was so cool! I loved her! I missed Sister Sanders but I loved her! We got to teach people and do a lot of tracting, which I am not great at, but I got to practice! We also talked a lot about anxiety. We talked about how much a mission can cause that and how it's hard to overcome but she taught me some really awesome things. She reminded me that this is THE ONLY TIME in my whole life that I will get to walk around, talking to everybody I see, looking a little silly and ridiculous and crazy to other people, knocking on strangers doors and asking them if they have a relationship with Christ and she told me that the best thing I can do for my anxiety about what other people think, is just accept that right now I'm a wackadoodle. I know that I'm normal and the people who get to know me will know I'm normal and so it doesn't matter what others think. Christ loves me and this is what he wants me to do! What a privilege it is to be able to talk to so many people and have them know that I'm doing what I'm doing because I love Christ. I don't need to fear others more than God and how silly it is for me to worry about what they think. I need to focus on what God thinks and as long as I am doing my absolute best to talk to the people he wants me to talk to and to talk about the things he wants me to, I'm golden! That is how I decided to accept that right now I'm a crazy girl who only wears skirts and talks about Jesus a lot! What a good life I live! 'm so grateful to be here and I'm so grateful to be a representative of Christ. So many blessings come with that title and, honestly, it's not easy. It's a trial somedays. But a bad day on my mission has still been better than an average day at home. I love you all so much! Have a great week!



~Sister Madisen Lloyd

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Area!

March 20, 2017

This week has been SO CRAZY!!! Oh my gosh what a transition. Well I flew it Arkansas on Wednesday morning! It was my first plane ride ever and honestly... planes aren't really my thing. I don't enjoy them. But it was better than driving! ;) We spent the night in the Loveland's home in Arkansas and I would tell you more about that but... to be honest... that whole 24 hours was a blur. I don't remember most of it. I do remember that he gave me a picture of my new companion, Sister Sanders, and told me my first area would be.... Springfield, Missouri YSA. I was PUMPED! I don't know that I've ever been more excited for something in my whole life, honestly. 


The next day we drove to Missouri and I met Sister Sanders. She is literally one of the most amazing people I've ever met. I love her SO MUCH. About halfway through the day she connected the dots that if I was from Twin Falls, Idaho then I would probably know her MTC companioin... wait for it... Sister Emily Bisch. I was so excited! We literally talked about how awesome she is for the rest of the day! Springfield is the hometown of many many things, Cashew Chicken, a HUGE Bass Pro store and Andys ice cream which is far and away the best ice cream I've ever had in my life. It is also the home of Missouri State. My apartment is interestingly located right across from Missouri State and then on the other side we have a bar. It is an interesting location for sure! But I love it. Somehow I managed to get here the week of Spring Break which is problematic because most of the talking to people we do is on campus, because I'm in a YSA ward and that also meant all of our investigators were home for Spring Break. Basically no one was here. It's day five and I still haven't taught a lesson yet, Sister Sanders says that we usually teach a TON, they literally call it the promised land, just not during spring break. But we decided to do some tracting. We have done a LOT of tracting! Which is fun! I still get really nervous and Sister Sanders has to help me out a lot but I'm slowly improving. However this has also brought a lot of interesting experiences into my life for the first week of being here. 


We went tracting on my first full day here and we ran into a guy named Kenny... oh Kenny. We knocked on his door and he started talking to us and was very quick to tell us that he is Pagan and had absolutely no interest in talking religion with us. Okay, that's fine. We just tried to have a nice conversation with him and then he looks at us and says "missionaries... you guys are just awkward people." We were a little surprised and tried to play it off. The conversation got more weird from there. He told us that he was supposed to be a Roman Gladiator and that he was born in the wrong time period, he said you could tell from his physique (his word not mine). He also told us he is both a Libra and a Scorpio, I don't know how that works but apparently it does. He told us that, conveniently, our astrological signs are his two most intimate love connections *eye roll*. Kenny is also a stage five sociopath! Needless to say we quickly ended the conversation and as we were about to leave he said "You girls are the best missionaries to show up so far. I would love to talk again. I help a lot of you guys out, I like to talk because I show you guys a whole new perspective that you haven't ever even considered before." I don't remember how Sister Sanders handled it but we left. It was pretty funny. 


We knocked another door of a guy and he was nice and talked to us for a minute and then said he had to get ready for work. We left him a pass along card and said goodbye, he closed the door and we listened to him and his wife laugh the whole time we walked away. That was a confidence killer. Then we knocked another door where the man literally answered, said "What can I do for you?" and we made it through "Hi! We are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!" and he closed the door. That was discouraging too. We did tract one door where we met a girl who said she would be interested to coming to church and activities but she didn't come yesterday so I guess we will see how that works out. 


We tracted again the next day and we tracted almost all day long. The last door of the night was mine! I struggle with knowing what to say to people. Anyway, I knocked on the door and they answered and immediately the smell of pot flooded out and it took me a few seconds to recompose myself. I started having a nice talk with the guy who opened the door and suddenly every single word I knew left my brain. I couldn't think of one more thing to say and then I looked to Sister Sanders for assistance and "help me" did manage to escape. She took over and I was mortified. She said it was okay and that I did good but hopefully I will do better next time. 


The ward that I'm assigned to is fantastic though. I've only met a few of them and I can't remember a lot of their names but they are so nice. I had lunch with one of the investigators today and she is seriously amazing. I love being here so much and I love being a missionary so much. It's day five and I'm already feeling like it's going by really fast. I lay down at the end of each day exhausted but feeling like I had no time that day. I wish I had more spiritual stories to tell you this week but, honestly, it's been a week of knocking doors. However, to end on a spiritual note. After the whole "help me" experience and having very little success tracting I was very discouraged and Sister Sanders said something that I have thought a lot about. We had a member with us who said it was weird to want so badly for people you don't even know, to listen to you and be so disappointed when they don't. I said I totally understood what she was saying and Sister Sanders said "Honestly, it doesn't bother me. I know at the end of the day, that I knocked every door I could and that I tried. I could have a thousand doors shut in my face. I could be laughed at over and over and I just know that there is one, who is ready. There's someone that will listen to me and who will learn and their life will improve so much because I was willing to be laughed at and to have doors shut in my face." That hit me hard and since then I have looked at tracting a lot differently. I'm not here to convert everyone I meet. Most people aren't going to want to give me the time of day. But I just need to have faith that 1. I'm planting seeds with every person I do talk to and 2. There will be one. The gospel is such a blessing. I'm so grateful to be planting seeds and for the opportunity that I have to see people the way Christ does and just want them to come to Him. I love you all so much and I will talk to you next week! 


~Sister Lloyd

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tuesday March 14,2017

Hello everyone! It has been an awesome week!
     So we had another wonderful round of TRC's this week. We taught one named Kristen. I LOVE TRC's. So Kristen was our first TRC. To give you a little background she is a member of another faith that is, actually, similar to ours in a lot of it's teachings. Her husband is LDS and she is taking the missionary discussions because her husband really wants to be sealed but she was hesitant because she didn't really agree with some of the teachings of our church. We went in and asked her what her concerns were with the church and she said that she knows what priesthood is and that we believe we have it but she said she didn't feel comfortable agreeing that ONLY our church has God's authority. She said that if God loves all of his children she didn't understand why he would only give his authority to the members of one church when most churches try to bring people to him. I thought this was a valid concern. Her other concern was that she was baptized into her church and she didn't understand why she needed to be rebaptized. Well, I felt the spirit tell me to do some research before trying to answer her questions. Unfortunately, I decided to ignore that and answer them anyway. WRONG ANSWER. I tried to explain the answers and as I was talking I felt the spirit leave, I then panicked and continued to talk more. I knew what I was trying to say but the more I talked the worse it got. My words weren't coming out the way I wanted them to and I eventually just stopped talking and let Sister McDonald finish teaching the whole lesson. I felt awful. We went back to the class and I couldn't figure out why my words weren't saying what I was trying to say. My teacher approached me and said "Uhm... so.... Sister Lloyd, how do you feel about that lesson?" I started bawling. I felt so bad and I definitely knew that I had accidentally taught her things that weren't true trying to explain a concept that I understood. My teacher and Sister McDonald comforted me and told me that, fortunately, we had another lesson and I could go in and fix it. I studied harder than I have ever studied in my life over the next two days until our next lesson and I studied baptism, priesthood, covenants, I studied where she was in the Book of Mormon, basically anything I could come up with that could possible relate to this situation so that I could feel comfortable and have the spirit help me. We went back in on Friday and I sat down and said "I think in our last lesson as I was trying to explain some things I might have accidentally explained things poorly and given you some misinformation." I continued to reexplain things according to the studies I had done. When I finished she thanked me and she said that she definitely had some misunderstandings from what I had said last time. We had a really good conversation though and I felt the spirit again. What a relief! Then we told her we had studied in the Book of Mormon where she had told us she would be studying: 1 Nephi chapters 4 and 5. We asked her if she had any questions and she told us she had been wondering why God would command Nephi to kill Laban but she talked to her husband about it and felt like she had a better understanding and appreciation for Nephi after that conversation. Sister McDonald and I then explained that in our studies for her we had come across a scripture that we felt described her situation. 1 Nephi 4: 6-7 "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless I went forth..." We asked her how she thought this could relate to her and we had a really good discussion about how she doesn't know why she is meeting with us other than to learn about her husbands religion and figure out the answers to her questions and so she is going forth not knowing what she needs to do. We then explained that that was true and we felt that as she was acting on faith, continuing to meet with us and doing the things that we ask her to do that she would be led by the spirit. We told her that we can talk and try to explain why she needs to be baptized again into our church all day long but that at the end of the day it wasn't going to help her because she is the kind of person who needs to know for herself what the difference is. I looked at her and said "Kristen, we would like to invite you to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the Priesthood Authority of God. Would you be willing to act on faith and accept our invitation?" She said yes! I then promised her that if she would do this that God would show her through thoughts and feelings, the difference between her two baptisms and she would know why she needed to be baptized again by priesthood authority. It was by far the best lesson Sister McDonald and I have taught. 
     In between the first and second lessons with Kristen was a hard time for me. I felt so bad that I had gone against the spirit and I felt that I had failed as a missionary. If I had failed my TRC this bad how on Earth was I going to be successful in the field? Why didn't I listen to the spirit? Why were my answers so bad that she misunderstood me? I prayed a LOT in those two days and I studied even more. I knew that I needed to show Heavenly Father that I felt bad, recognized my mistake and would do my best to fix it and not do it again. Repentance is real. Anyway, I felt really bad about myself as a person and a missionary and there was a lot of problems in our sistrict this week as well. We are all antsy and ready to be out of the MTC and because it was everybody's last week here most of the girls didn't have any patience left. I didn't really have too much of a problem with it but some other sisters DEFINITELY let their anxieties take away from their patience, needless to say, the girls were not nice to each other this week. I feel very blessed that I have had as much patience with and love for the girls I'm with because I haven't had any problems. Anyway, There was a lot of petty arguments and frustrations among the sisters and it ended up being just a really bad situation because nobody could feel the spirit and it really was just a bad situation overall. All of us wanted to go home this week. Some of us got closer than others. Nobody ended up going home which was a blessing and eventually everything got worked out but it was really hard for a day or two. 
     Thursday we had something called In-Field Orientation which is basically where they just pull you into a couple different classrooms for nine hours and teach you all the things that you need to know for the field that they haven't had a chance to teach you yet. No, apparently three weeks is not enough time to cover everything. I was surprised too. Anyway it was a LONG day but luckily we all knew what this mean, only a few days till the field. I fly out Wednesday the 15 at 3:20 in the morning. I'm beyond excited. As nervous and anxious as I have been and as much as I've fought it up till now, I still am so excited to go.

 While I've been here at the MTC my testimony has grown so much. I say this all the time but I am seriously, so blessed! I'm blessed to know that God is my Father in Heaven and that he loves me and is aware of me. He has a plan for me and even though our plans for my life have NEVER matched, his is always the one that brings me the most joy. I know that God only wants us to be happy, that's why he sent Jesus Christ to be our Savior. I am so grateful that I know that I never have to be alone. I know that Christ feels absolutely everything that I ever have felt and ever will feel. I never have to feel like nobody understands or nobody gets it, someone always does. Christ is the only reason I'm here. Christ is the only reason I've made it this far. Christ is my best friend, my older brother, my protector and my Savior. The biggest thing that I've learned while I've been here is that I'm not here for myself, I'm not even here for the people of Arkansas, I'm here because God and Christ have given more to me than I will ever be able to pay back. Even if I spend every single second of the rest of my life serving God it will never repay the debt I have because God gives me every breath I take and every ounce of energy that I have. God is so good! What a blessing it is to know that God is aware of us and that Christ loves each of us so much that he came, willingly, knowing the horrible pain and suffering he would have to go through. Knowing he would have to feel the most bitter sorrow anyone could ever feel, pay for every single sin ever committed and literally be the ONLY person to TRULY know what it feels like to be alone. He knew that a lot of the people he did this for we turn away. He know people wouldn't accept it and use it and he did it anyway. If you don't have a good relationship with Christ I would invite you to study his life and his attributes. Change the way you pray. Change the way you study and what you study. I know, because of my experiences at the MTC and otherwise that even if you think you understand something, you don't. I love my God and I love my Savior. I know that it is only through Christ that we can gain any joy in this life. Happiness is good, but joy is so much better. Joy is lasting. I know God is aware of each of you. I know Christ loves you. Rely on him and your life will only improve. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all of your love, prayers and support. You guys are wonderful and I love you all! Talk to you next week from Arkansas (or Kansas or Missouri or Oklahoma)! 

"They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever." -Psalm 125:1

-Sister Lloyd

~Sister Madisen Lloyd

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tues. March 7,2017

 What a wonderful week this has been! I seriously am on cloud nine! So last Tuesday I told you about our two investigators (They are called TRC's and some of them are real investigators, some of them are members who volunteer and some of them get taught for a job and you don't know which are which). The first one came to us ready to know the gospel and wanting to know the gospel and it was fantastic! He progressed so fast! On Wednesday we taught him about tithing and he said "oh! I will pay that this Sunday when I go to church!" so anyway he progressed really fast. On Friday he told us his daughter set up a meeting with the missionaries that night because he has been telling her about what he is learning and his granddaughter is dating an LDS boy. Anyway, he said he was excited! We taught him our lesson and I felt really prompted to invite him to be baptized... of course I thought this was crazy because we only teach them for a week and this was our third lesson with him, but I did it anyway. When the spirit prompts it's better to act than to doubt ;) and so I invited him to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized. AND HE SAID YES! He told me that he wants to finish the Book of Mormon but after that he wants to be baptized! I was so excited I thought I was going to explode! We wrapped up our lesson and closed and taught him about baptism and what he has to be doing to be baptized in our last lesson with him and it was so cool. 
     Last week I also told you about our TRC who was a struggle for us. Sister McDonald and I cried a lot after that lesson because we felt like we had failed and that we had no direction to go from there. The next lesson we had no idea what to do so I felt prompted to prepare three lessons and go in and show her the three lessons and let her be led by the spirit to pick the lesson she needed. We did that and she picked the Restoration. We taught her about the Restoration and the spirit was so strong! I felt so good! We taught her about Joseph Smith and the first vision and it was amazing! I was feeling so good by the end of the lesson I was practically floating! I extended the invitation of praying to her and she looked me in the eyes and said "uhm, no. I don't feel comfortable with that." My heart dropped. It took everything I had for me to not cry right there in front of her. We didn't know what to do so we closed and left. I felt so discouraged again. What was I doing wrong? The next lesson we didn't plan a lesson. We felt really strongly that we needed to just talk to her. We had a lesson that whenever investigators turn down an invitation it is usually because they are afraid of something. We went in and talked to her and it turns out she wanted God to be real, she hoped God was real! But she knew that if she prayed and it turned out that he wasn't there, she would be crushed and it would be very hard for her to recover. I started talking to her and before I even knew what I was saying I asked her "How do you ever expect to find out if God is there and if he loves you, if you don't ever intend to ask?" I'm sure the surprise on my face probably matched the surprise on hers after I asked that but she thought about it and said I made a good point and she wasn't sure. We were out of time by then and so I bore my testimony that if she would pray she would KNOW God was real and that he loved her. I invited her to pray and she told me know, again. I was again very discouraged until she looked at me and said "But will you invite me again tomorrow?" I said I would and we left. We went beck to teach her the next day, our last lesson with her. We walked in and asked her if she had thought about our last lesson. She said yes and I sat there fully expecting her to tell me she had and I needed to blow it out my ears, until she looked down, her voice started shaking and she said "I think... I have decided... that I want to know. I have decided I'm going to pray. I don't think I'm ready today and I might not be ready tomorrow, but I want to know." I teared up listening to her talk about how scared she was but that she was ready to know. I cried telling her how much God loved her and that I promised her that because she was taking a risk and acting on faith, really wanting to know, that she would not be crushed. That she would know God was real and that he loved her. It was such a special moment. The rest of our lesson we taught her about how the Holy Ghost communicates with people and the nature of God, she was afraid he would be angry with her for not believing in him sooner. It was a beautiful lesson and the spirit was so strong because of her faith. My joy at getting her to commit to prayer was the same as when our other investigator said he would be baptized because for her, it was a bigger leap of faith to pray. I have so much love in my heart for her. 

     The rest of my week has been fantastic! Sister McDonald told us a story about how when she was little her family had a turtle that they kept on a leash in their backyard and how one day they went outside to feed it and it had magically gotten off of its leash and "it ran away." Needless to say we were all laughing about the fact that somehow her turtle "ran away" and they never found it. We all joke whenever we lose things that Sister McDonald's run away turtle took them. Other than that it has been a pretty slow week! Thank you for all of the mail and the emails! They never fail to brighten my day! You guys are amazing! I love you all so much! Talk to you next week!
Tuesday Feb. 28,2017
Hello! What a week! Wednesday after being off was crazy but they have a great system where your first two and a half days of being there they keep you so busy that you don't even have time to think about whether or not you're homesick! The first day was a lot of meeting people and going to meetings where they give you a brief rundown of how things are going to work, I honestly was so overwhelmed I can't remember anything they told me. I did get to meet my companion right up front and her name is Sister McDonald, she is AMAZING! I don't think I could love her anymore than I do right now. She keeps me sane. The other girls in my district are great too! There are three Sister companionships in my district, Sister McDonald and I, Sister Naegle and Sister Pratt and then Sister Eastman and Sister Rhodus. We have gotten to know each other really well! We also have two elder companionships in our district. They are fabulous as well! I have so much love in my heart for my district it's crazy! Our zone was fabulous too! The girls were amazing and just made us feel so welcome! We actually became really good friends with some of the Elders too! 

  My first full day in the MTC was good! We got thrown right into training and we got to teach our first "investigator" who was actually just our teacher but it was still a good experience. We got in there and our lesson was not good at all. We didn't know how to teach or how to rely on the spirit and so we went in there and gave a twenty minute lesson, left no time for questions and he literally sat there and stared at us like we were crazy. It was a bit discouraging to say the least. We got to teach to him once a day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and our lessons slowly improved. On Saturday we went in and we were planning on teaching him prayer and I felt prompted to ask him if he knew he was a Child of God and I was fully expecting him to say yes, he said he had never thought about it before. Sister McDonald tried to continue on with the lesson but I felt so strongly that if nothing else I NEEDED him to know he was a child of God. So I back tracked a little bit and said "I notice you seem confused by the idea of being a child of God. Tell me why that is" after he explained it he basically felt uncomfortable with it because Christ was the son of God because he was born of Heavenly Father and Mary and where he had two earthly parents he didn't feel he was also a child of God. I had no clue what to say. I had never even thought about it because I grew up being taught and somehow just knowing in my heart that I'm a child of God. I opened my mouth and just started talking. The spirit is an amazing teaching tool. The spirit spoke through me and was able to use the creation story in Genesis in the Bible (He believes in the Bible) to explain to him that we are all children of God. Everything that came out of my mouth was things I had never even thought about. I was so amazed at the things I was learning while I was teaching. At the end of my explanation I was a little nervous that he would think it was silly or not believe it but he looked at me and said "Oh! That makes sense!" Let me tell you, there is no better feeling in the whole world than knowing that you taught someone that they are a child of God and he loves them. I am so humbled that I got that opportunity. It was something I think I will treasure all my life.  
  All week that I've been here all the missionaries who find out that I'm a newby in the MTC have said "Oh! Just make it till Sunday and you'll be fine!" I'm not entirely sure why this is but I was expecting to wake up on Sunday and feel like I was on top of the world and have a renewed sense of confidence and just KNOW that I could do this. Wrong. I woke up on Sunday feeling more homesick than I ever have in my life. I went to classes and just kept my head down trying to just make it through the day. I got into a meeting about Dress and Grooming and was fine until the closing song, we listened to David Archuleta sing "If the Savior stood beside me" and I seriously lost it. I felt the spirit so strong and I am a crier anyway, I was bawling. It was totally humiliating. One Sister named Sister Pulley came over and gave me a big hug and asked me what was wrong. I told her I just really missed my family and she hugged me even tighter and said "I'll be your stand in mom for the day" I said thank you and the Branch Presidents wife came up and hugged me too. I went through the rest of my day okay, just homesick. I looked at my pictures of home that night though and that helped but was still hard. I was still homesick yesterday pretty bad and the experiences I had yesterday didn't help. 
  We have other investigators that we are assigned to teach in the MTC and they are called TRC's. Sister McDonald and I went to our first TRC and it went fantastic! He had questions he wanted us to teach him about in our next lessons and he had one question for yesterday and it was about the plan of salvation. I just happened to have thought to grab my plan of salvation diagram set I got from the Radmalls and so I had that to whip out and help us teach him. The spirit was so strong! It was amazing! Then we had a second TRC and it was less that great. We walked in and the spirit wasn't there and I could tell from the moment we sat down it wasn't going to be great... and it wasn't. We tried to get to know her and she told us a few things but nothing we could connect with her on and then she told us that she doesn't believe in God and that she doesn't believe there's really any way to know if anything is true, at all, ever. We were trying to teach her that God loves her for the second half of the lesson.... as you can guess it's hard to teach someone that God loves them if they don't believe in God. She was nice but we could tell it wasn't a great experience for her or us. We left very discouraged and had no idea where to go from there in our next lesson. We're still not sure but we have an idea we are playing with. I'll let you know how it goes next Tuesday! ;)
 The plague (Influenza) is going around the MTC and a few missionaries have been quarantined but it hasn't touched anyone in my residence hall floor that I know of and I've been staying healthy! I run a mile everytime we have exercise time and then I usually do another workout (abs, arms, elliptical, something like that). Everyone sings in the showers which is weird but fun. I'm happy, healthy and feeling the spirit and my testimony of the enabling power of the Atonement has increased so much because I know that there is no way I would still be here if Jesus Christ weren't helping me. I am honored to wear his name on my chest and I am humbled to have the opportunity to be a representative of him. How great is my calling! I love you guys so much! I miss you guys like crazy and I can't wait to talk to you guys next week! Thanks for the emails! I have an Ipad in the MTC so I can read emails as soon as I get them, I just can't respond  till P-day! Thanks for the mail from those of you who sent it! I love getting mail, and if you want to send me little letters there's a website called that lets you send me letters and I will get them that day! I can respond till 6 today so feel free to message me! Love you guys lots! Bigger than the whole sky!
~ Sister Lloyd