Monday, May 29, 2017

Coming up on transfers!

May 29, 2017

Hey y'all! I have had such a good week! I can't believe it's already almost June! It's unreal. Well, next week is transfers so I have to throw in a reminder that you won't hear from me until Wednesday of next week, so don't panic *cough* mom *cough* ;) 

Monday: Monday! Prep Day! On Monday Sister Sanders and I took care of all of the needful things. Then we went to visit a potential investigator named Tiffany. Tiffany, long story short, was someone we found through a series of miracles and she seemed super interested but since we met her a MONTH ago, she has never kept an appointment or been home when we drop by. Again she wasn't home, but her roommate was. We had seen her roommate in passing before but never had any substantial conversations with her. When we came this time we woke her up from a nap (woops) and she set up a return appointment so hopefully she will work out and bring her roommate along with her! After that we went to FHE and talked to some investigators we had there. 

Tuesday: On Tuesday we had exchanges. I went with Sister Blackwell again and she is so awesome. I love her. I also got to drive, for the first time in months. Driving is not like riding a bicycle, it isn't just as easy when you do it again after months. BUT we didn't die, and that's what counts, right? We had a few lessons that were awesome! We weren't in my area so I didn't know any of the people we had lessons with but there was one family we sat down with that was awesome. They had a son who has some disabilities but he loves Jesus, SO MUCH. It was seriously amazing. They said that he was so sad when they told him that he couldn't ride his bike around and talk about Jesus with the missionaries (the missionaries that teach him ride bikes pretty frequently). Anyway, he was precious and the parents were talking about how they were so concerned because they wanted to teach him religious things but they didn't know how to teach him so that it would stick, the spirit hit me so strongly, I just started crying and promised them that Christ new their son and loved him and that as long as they were doing their best to teach him what God would have him know, that the spirit would help him to understand. Christ knows everybody and so the spirit will always teach us in the best way for us, individually. The mom started crying and it was just a really tender moment. 

Wednesday: On Wednesday we had District Meeting and we talked about how important it is that we teach people everything they need to know about the gospel so that they don't feel confused or frustrated about what they need to do. It was really good and I learned a lot of ways to improve my teaching! After that we had a lot of awesome lessons lined up for the day... until they all cancelled on us. All three of them. Suddenly we had a lot of time to fill so we did some tracting and less active finding. It was a good day, just a lot of finding. 

Thursday: On Thursday we had a lesson with our recent convert, Alec, and he is so awesome! We laughed about things and had really good spiritual conversations. We are a little concerned about him, his life has gotten really crazy and he has fallen back into some old habits he thought he had kicked. After that we had a lesson fall through so we went to visit some potential investigators. Later that night we had a meeting with our ward mission leader about a Family Home Evening we are planning. We are planning on having a "Missionary Bootcamp" where we talk to our members about how to do missionary work because, it's summer.... in a YSA.... the missionaries need help. We can tract and we can go talk to people but other than that it's hard for us to do finding activities. HOPEFULLY this will help our members feel more involved and confident in their missionary work. 

Friday: On Friday we had exchanges in Grandby, I freaking love Grandby. That's where my little friend Hyrum lives. We started out our day there by doing service at Hyrum's house! He is so funny. I walked in and he jumped off the couch and goes "I DIDN'T KNOW YOU WERE COMING TODAY!" and started fixing his hair and straightening his shirt. Sister Sanders was cracking up. I said "Yeah! I didn't know I was coming until today!" he goes "Oh man!" he immediatley put on his shoes and spent the rest of the time I was there outside with us. He is so funny. As I was leaving I said "Hyrum, are you still praying I get transfered to Grandby?" and he nodded his head and then casually goes "So.... when are you coming back? Do you know? Are you coming next week?" I laughed and told him I had no idea. He was a little bit bummed I couldn't commit to coming back. He's so funny. After that Sister Snyder and I were on exchanges for the day. I LOVE Sister Snyder. She is so cool! We had a really good day of lessons and trying to talk to people. That night Sister Sanders and I headed home and I looked out the window and saw these twinkling lights that were so pretty! I was trying to figure out what they were and then I realized, they were lightning bugs! I watched them the whole way home! Lightning bugs have a very special place in my heart now. They are absolutely beautiful. 

Saturday: On Saturday we did some service in the morning for a less active member who is friends with our Recent convert, Alec. Her name is Jina! She is really cool. We had a really good couple hours of cleaning and organizing her store and then we went into weekly planning. LONGEST. DAY. EVER. For some reason weekly planning took so long this week. I hate weekly planning, I just wanna go missionary. We got it done though and then we did some training. This is actually my last week of being a greeny! I'm so excited to be a real life missionary! :) 

Sunday: On Sunday we had 5 investigators at church which is SO AWESOME! Of course, it was the week that we sing songs out of the sealed portion of the hymn book. I'm talking hymns that I didn't even know after being a member for almost twenty years. However, two of them said they would be willing to meet with us after they figured out their work schedule for this week and one set a return appointment so we gained three investigators! It was awesome! After church we went to see Dylan, freaking Dylan. Sister Sanders and Sister Smith (the missionary here before me) tracted into Dylan in January and gave him a Book of Mormon. They kept coming back and checking up on him and his progress and then the third week I was here Sister Sanders and I went and checked up on him. He was so solid! He said he knew the Book of Mormon was the word of God and he would be willing to meet with us as soon as he figured out when he wasn't busy. We haven't seen or heard from him since. We go back occasionally to see if we can catch him home but we never do. He lives across the breezeway from a member so yesterday, when he wasn't home again, we knocked on her door, gave her our number and asked her to text us if she ever happens to see him at home. Hopefully we will get him someday! 

Well, this week I have been thinking so much about joy and failure and joy in failure. I have started meeting with the mission counselor because I was just feeling really depressed and I didn't feel good about myself or my missionary work. It got so bad that for about a week I couldn't feel the spirit very much. It was a really hard time for me. I met with Dr Dan for the first time and told him I was struggling with feeling like a failure. He looked at me and said "You are!" and I was a little surprised. He looked at me and explained that everyone is a failure. No one can do everything perfectly, everyone fails. The most important part of failing is recognizing it, and trying to be better. You can still find joy while you're a failure. You can find joy in your failures. You just need to recognize that that's why you're here, that's your purpose, to learn to find joy in your failures. "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy." Well, by falling, Adam failed. He failed to live up to one of the commandments God gave him. But because of his failure we are all able to find joy in life. I love this concept because failing isn't something that condemns us, it just helps us to try harder. I have loved learning this and trying to find joy in my failures because I fail every. single. day. Am I happy about it? Definitely not. But it happens and as I strive to find joy in my failures I notice how richly I am blessed. I love my Heavenly Father so much. I'm grateful for him and for the fact that he knew I would fail and made a way for me to succeed. It gives me hope. I hope y'all have a great week. I love you. God loves you. Keep on keepin on! 

~Sister Lloyd
~Sister Madisen Lloyd

Monday, May 22, 2017

3 Months!

May 22, 2017

What a great week this has been! I have been asked so many questions this week that I never anticipated being asked on my mission. Here are just a few: "Oh! I just made cookies! Do you want one?" "Hey Sisters! Do you want some candy? I'd love to buy you each a candy!" "Can't you read?" "Do you want this picture of a homeless guy I took?"
Needless to say, this week had it's surprises!

Monday: Monday was Prep day! Per usual prep day was good! We took care of all of the things we needed to so that the rest of the week could be successful! It was really good! We played volleyball with the zone and, oh man, I'm not that great at volleyball it turns out. But that's okay because it was still fun! After Prep day ended we went tracting with one of our members and bumped into a girl who used to meet with missionaries. She said she just never felt like it was true. We asked her to meet with us again and she said she would! It was really neat to be able to run into her and be able to testify and set a return appointment to come back and talk to her. I am really excited she was willing to meet with us and I am hoping that maybe her heart has been softened since she met with them in high school!

Tuesday: On Tuesday we had interviews with President Loveland. He is so awesome! He told us that on June 1st we are going to be taking a trip to the Kansas City Temple! I'M SO EXCITED! It was so cool. President Loveland and I had a really good conversation about life and my area and just serving a mission in general and he gave me a lot of really good advice that I needed to hear. I'm so grateful for an awesome mission president. After that I went on exchanges with Sister Montoya. She is so awesome! She and I talked a lot and we got along really well! We talked about some of the things that we are both struggling with and we had a few appointments and so we taught a few people which was awesome. At the end of the night we were both crawling into bed and she just said "hey! I just want you to know, you don't need to worry about what you say when you're teaching. As long as you're trying to do your best and you're worthy of the spirit he will help you. Even if you say something wrong he will help it to make sense to the person you're teaching. Goodnight Sister Lloyd!" I just laid there kind of in shock and thought about that. What a wonderful blessing that she just explained to me. I'm so grateful for awesome sisters who know what to say.
Wednesday: On Wednesday we did service in the morning and then we went to the mall and talked to a lot of people. Talking to the people at the mall is always a little intimidating because we aren't supposed to shop unless it's prep day so we have to be in the stores but not pay attention to what is in the stores which is not always the easiest, but we do it! We didn't manage to get any investigators out of it but we planted a lot of seeds and that's what counts! While we were walking out to the car to leave the mall we passed by a member and she stopped us and said "Sisters! Do you want some candy? I would love to buy both of you some candy!" We accepted and she took us to this little candy store. She bought Sister Sanders and I both a treat and then said "my family always said it was the biggest blessing when members would just give them a treat or offer them some water and so I try to be that blessing for missionaries I bump into. I hope this was a blessing." It was so awesome because she was so right. I had the biggest craving for chocolate all day. She was a blessing to me that day. On Wednesday during companionship study Sister Sanders and I set a goal to talk to 37 people a day. Not just saying "hi" in passing but actually have conversations with people which has been an AWESOME experience. I am so much more aware of the people around me and I try so much harder to talk to people. I don't think I was lazy before, I talked to a lot of people, but I am definitely much more aware of how many more people I could have been talking to. After the mall and companion study we went to a lesson and Tiffany, who we were supposed to be meeting with, wasn't home. So we went and tracted around her a little bit and got into a very interesting conversation. We saw some YSA aged people outside and we went to say hi to them. As we got closer I saw they were drinking (which happens frequently) but they were also pointing at and talking about us. We walked up and started talking to one of the guys and the other guy and two girls were standing a little ways to the side of us, quite obviously making fun of us. I just looked at them dead faced, making direct eye contact with the guy for a solid minute, until they stopped. I smiled and looked back at the guy we were talking to and the other three went inside. It was a little funny! :)

Thursday: On Thursday we started the day with our lesson with the girl we tracted into on Monday, Bethany. It was a really good lesson. She had a lot of questions which was really good because they were sincere questions that were addressing a lot of her concerns about our church. We had a lot of good opportunities to testify of Joseph Smith and of the Book of Mormon. After that we went onto campus and talked to some people for a few hours. After that we had service, serving dinner at a dinner for the community homeless/needy people. It went really good but this one older gentleman kept talking to me and he didn't have any teeth so he was a bit hard to understand. He was very nice and he gave me a picture of a homeless man that he took, I'll never say I never got anything from serving a mission! ;) He is also a published author, he told me one of his poems:

                                          The problem with dating the tallest girl

                                                 when you're the shortest guy

                                       is that everytime you try to look into her eyes

                                                all you see is her belly button.

Friday: On Friday we were on exchanges again with the Grandby sisters, they both came here and we all stayed in the Springfield area and we just worked doing separate things. I was with Sister Baraza who was a HOOT. She was so funny. We went on campus and talked to some people and chalked a little bit. Right in the middle of chalking all of the tornado sirens kicked on and the people working at MSU all came out and started saying that everyone needed to get in the storm shelter. I was a little concerned and so was Sister Baraza so we went into the storm shelter and it started pouring rain and the thunder and lightning were going and we stayed in the shelter for close to an hour, until we realized we had a dinner appointment to get to and we didn't have our phone to cancel with the member who was taking us to dinner. After having a good talk Sister Baraza and I decided that the tornado wasn't anywhere close and that it was just raining and thundering so we were going to run across campus to the institute and go to our dinner appointment. We made it to the doors and just sprinted as fast as we could go in the pouring rain, the tornado sirens still blaring and we made it about halfway across campus and it started hailing. When we finally made it to the institute building where the car was we were absolutely drenched but we both were laughing so hard. It was one of the most fun things I've done so far on my mission. I loved it. We went to dinner soaking wet and it was a good night. After that we went home and changed and then went to a YSA Fireside. Our stake had stake conference this weekend and the area seventy, Elder C Dale Willis came. When he found out there was a YSA in the stake he decided to fly in a day early and have a fireside with them. It was really neat! I got to shake his hand and talk to him for a minute which was a cool experience.

Saturday: On Saturday I had a really good day! We started the day by doing a few hours of service for the friend of our recent convert, Alec. We did the service for this lady named Jina, who is actually the one that got Alec interested in the church! She has a shop where she sells vintage clothes and she is liquidating all of her inventory so we got to go help her start organizing her inventory so she knows what she has to sell. It was really fun to get to rummage through all of the vintage clothes that she has! We even found a bird that was living behind this old mattress in the attic of her store. It was an adventure for sure! After that we did weekly planning for a few hours. That night we had Stake Conference, Sister Sanders and I had to sing with the YSA choir for the musical number because there are only about 15 people in the choir, including the bishopric and the bishop's wife. So they threw the two tone deaf missionaries in the choir to add bodies! Haha! It actually didn't end up sounding that bad which was a huge blessing from Heavenly Father! That night was really good though. During stake conference I had the urge to do something I haven't done in a while. I wrote done a prayer. I told Heavenly Father what a lot of my concerns were and what I was struggling with. I told Him I didn't feel like I was good enough to be on a mission. I told Him that I didn't feel like I was the soft spoken, touchy feely sister missionary who talks in a whispery voice to bring the spirit. I told Him I wanted to feel more fully of His love. I waited a minute and then I just started writing the words that came to my mind, Heavenly Father's response to me. It was a really neat experience. He told me He loves me and that He is proud of me. He told me I'm where I need to be. He told me I need to be more patient with myself as I learn and that I am good enough to accomlish the purposes he has for me, that's why he called me. We had a really good talk and I got a lot of peace. After Stake Conference President Loveland told all the missionaries to go to Braums. We all went and he bought us all ice cream! It was a good night.

Sunday: On Sunday we had part two of stake conference and it was really good! The YSA's recent convert, Marlowe, spoke and she was so awesome. She got baptized right before I got here but she is so amazing. She has such a strong testimony and it inspires me all the time. After stake conference we went looking for less active members, unbaptized members and tracting. It was a really fun afternoon, actually. While we were tracting we knocked on a door and it was a young couple, they invited us in and we talked for a minute. They are very religous and devout to their church but they were happy we were out talking to people about Christ. The wife looked at us and said "I actually just made cookies! Do you girls want one?" I can't have them, but Sister Sanders can so we both took one and thanked her. After that her husband prayed for us and it was a really positive interaction. They were really awesome and it was such a blessing to meet people who weren't grumpy we were knocking on their door. On our way home we were driving behind a bus and we got to a redlight and it was next to a mail car. All of a sudden we see a little arm reach out of the bus and then suddenly a little boy is half hanging out of this bus. All of a sudden we see the mail man reach a bag of chips up towards this arm and the little boy grabs a handful of chips

This week, as you can see, was full of tender mercies and miracles. It was really such an awesome week. I honestly feel so blessed. This week I have been thinking a lot about mercy and a lot about grace. I have been studying grace a lot and how that correlates with Christ's Atonement. As I've read talks and scriptures about this I have seen my testimony grow so much. The biggest thing that I've learned is that Christ does ask us to do our best, absolutely. But it's not because he atoned for everything, EXCEPT for what he knew we could do. I always thought I was supposed to do my best because that's what Christ didn't need to do, that was my job. Christ atoned for EVERYTHING. He covered EVERYTHING. The reason he asks us to do our best is not because it makes or breaks whether or not we are fully covered. It's because as we do everything we can to become better people it improves us. We become better and rely more fully on the Lord for everything. We recognize our inadequacies and instead of throwing our hands up and saying "I just can't do this anymore, I'm done." We take them to him and say "I don't know how this is going to work, but I know you can help me." and he does. I'm so grateful that I have gone from being the person who gives up because there's too much to be done, to being someone who takes it to the Lord and asks him to help. I'm definitely not perfect, I have a VERY long way to go, but I know that when we simply choose to rely on the Lord, he strengthens us. He never throws his hands up and says "there's too much to be done, they aren't worth it." He sees us as everything that we could ever possibly be. All that we could ever possibly do. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father and Savior who see me as so much more than I see myself. I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your love and support. Keep on keepin on and know that they Lord loves you!

~Sister Lloyd
P.S. Sorry I don't have pictures this week! I left my camera at home today! That's okay! There will just be more next week! :) 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day Week

May 15, 2017

This week was a really good week! Full of sunshine and missionary work. 
Monday: I covered Monday last week but I will give a quick synopsis: I cut my hair and went to FHE and Sports Night. We had a couple of investigators at FHE but not as many as usual which was disappointing to say the least. As the semester comes to an end all of our investigators are stressed with finals and moving home so that makes it hard.

Tuesday: On Tuesday we had exchanges! I went to the Orchard Hills area with Sister Blackwell and she is SO AWESOME. I love her. We ended up not having the phone and so that was crazy but through a crazy string of events we ended up placing a Book of Mormon with the guy who cuts the grass for their apartment complex. We went to borrow the phone of a member who lives in that complex and while we were walking to her building I found a Book of Mormon on the drainage pipe that was outside the complex. I was sad it was left there overnight but I picked it up and just carried it and thought "that's okay! We can give it to someone else." The member wasn't home so we walked back and the guy who cuts the grass had just pulled up and was on his phone outside his truck. Sister Blackwell went up to him and asked to borrow his phone and he said yes! After that I was left to talk to him. We talked about him and how the Holy Ghost told him to start his lawn business and the huge role that Christ has played in his life. Sister Blackwell finished up on the phone and brought it back. He asked if he could pray with us and we accepted and he said a beautiful prayer. After that I KNEW why I had randomly found that Book of Mormon. I ended up thanking him for the prayer and telling him that the Book of Mormon has drastically improved my relationship with Jesus Christ and that I would love to leave him with a copy. We talked a little bit about the Book of Mormon and then he said he would read from it and Sister Blackwell said she would probably come talk to him the next time he was there. It was a really neat experience. The rest of the day was good! We did a lot of service and we tracted a lot. I still don't enjoy tracting but I'm getting better at it! A lot of times I still feel uncomfortable but I just pray that I will sound confident even if I'm not. Preach my gospel taught me that and it works pretty well!

Wednesday: On Wednesday we had District meeting which was just where all the missionaries in my district meet... Go figure! We talk about how we can improve and we did a lot of really good role plays practicing how to work with members. It was really awesome and I learned a lot about how I can better work with the members of our ward. We taught Audrey and she accepted and invitation to baptism... but she is going home for the summer so we have to pass her off to other missionaries :/ we were really bummed about that. We did a lot of talking to people on campus and that was really cool! Nobody was really interested but we did pass out a lot of pass along cards and had some really cool conversations about Christ. That's one of my favorite things about this area, most everybody loves and knows Christ and even if they aren't interested in learning they are more than happy to talk about Christ! 

Thursday: Thursday was the roughest day of the week. We had the table and there was next to no foot traffic because of finals. We did have a lesson with Will right after the table and that was really good. We committed him to be baptized... but he is going home for the summer as well. So we have to pass him off to other missionaries too. Summer stinks in a YSA.  Sister Sanders and I had two lessons at the same time so we found two female members to do "splits" with. Splits is where the missionaries split and each go with a member as their temporary companion and teach a lesson. We were really excited! We ended up having both lessons not show up which was disappointing. After that we made a thirty minute drive to our next lesson in Willard Missouri, who wasn't home for our lesson. So we made some visits to less active members in that area and then made the thirty minute drive back to Springfield just in time for our last lesson with Olivia. Olivia is our investigator who is Catholic and very convinced it is the true church. She has been investigating out of curiosity and hasn't been willing to consider the fact that it could be true and then can't figure out why she isn't getting answers to prayer. We finally had a "do or die" lesson which is where we sit down and kindly, but boldly explain that if she isn't willing to change when she receives answers, she won't get them. It was uncomfortable to say the least but Sister Sanders did a great job of saying what needed to be said. After that she admitted that she wasn't really open to receiving answers. We asked her if she would be willing to start being more open and she said yes, and then said she wasn't willing to come to church when we invited her... so we will see how open she ends up being. Being open is crucial to receiving answers. God isn't going to tell you the Book of Mormon is true if you aren't willing to change your life with that information. It's kind of that concept of "don't cast pearls before swine" if you aren't going to value what God tells you, he won't tell you. 

Friday: On Friday we started our morning with service and then we had a lesson with a new investigator, Noah. He dated an LDS girl a while back and her family gave him a Book of Mormon that he started reading until they broke up. Then last week he was biking to work and needed a drink and saw the LDS church and stopped and asked for a drink and a new Book of Mormon because his old one got wet biking. The Elders were excited to hear someone ask for  a Book of Mormon! They gave him one and set up a meeting for us! He was super cool. We basically talked about prayer and how he can receive answers to his prayers. We were planning on teaching the Restoration but he basically told us the whole thing when we asked him what he knew about it, so we went a different direction. He told us he really likes reading the Joseph Smith papers so he knows A LOT. But he is super sincere in wanting to learn which is awesome! 

Saturday: On Saturday we had weekly planning! This week we did half of weekly planning on our back porch so that we could be outside in the sun. It was a really nice break from being in the apartment. After that we went to a baptism of the father of one of our investigators. It was really cool and when we got there we shook his hand and introduced ourselves. When he shook my hand he said "oh my gosh! YOU'RE Sister Lloyd? You're name is mentioned in my house more than mine is!" I laughed pretty hard. After that we texted James to set up an appointment. Up till this point we have let James pick which members come to his lessons because we want him to feel comfortable. But about a week ago we figured out he was asking us to invite all of the girls he has crushes on. OUR LESSONS AREN'T A DATING SERVICE!  So for our last lesson when he suggested a girl we just said we had someone lined up and moved on. He wasn't super happy when he walked in and it wasn't who he wanted, but the lesson was really awesome so we didn't stress about it. Well, when we texted him Saturday he told us the girl he wanted at his lesson and we said "we have someone lined up already but we will definitely keep her in mind for future lessons!" he responded with "that was a contingency" I asked him what he meant and he said "well if (insert girl's name here) isn't coming, then you've lost my interest and the answer changes to a no." Not going to lie, I was a little irritated. I responded "Well that's a bummer! We were excited to meet with you. Well I guess we will see you Sunday then! Have a good day!" and left it there. So we are going to ride this power struggle out and see what happens, what he doesn't know is it doesn't matter if I have lost his interest, the Lord hasn't lost interest in him.

Sunday: On Sunday I had to give a talk. My topic, as assigned by the bishopric member, was "something about mothers... and missionary work... I'm not going to tell you a topic,  but something like that." I ended up deciding to speak about the things that you have to do when you are a mother that you also have to do when you are doing missionary work. It ended up being a really interesting topic to study and talk about. I really enjoyed it. THEN I got to skype home after church. It was the best. It was so good to see my family and talk to them. I miss then and I love them dearly. I'm so grateful I got to see them! After that we came home, had dinner, went and knocked some doors and then went to bed. 

It was such an awesome week. Lately I have been struggling a lot with feeling lonely and like I'm not good enough to be here and honestly, it's been really hard. But Throughout these hard times my testimony that God is aware of me and has a plan for me has been strengthened so much. I have been so blessed with people and opportunities that bring light into my life when I'm struggling and I feel so blessed to have a loving Father in Heaven who blesses me with little things, like a gardening service opportunity, during a week when I feel overwhelmed with missionary work and think I'm going to die if I have to knock one more door. He has blessed me with an amazing companion who loves me so much and is so patient with me and I try to figure out how to be better than I am. He blessed me with a mission president who reads my emails and genuinely wants to help me. I am so blessed. I have no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father is just as aware of all of you as he is of me. I know that he blesses you with little tender mercies as well. I also know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It testifies of Jesus Christ and it builds our relationship with him. We have been doing a really cool Book of Mormon marking activity as a mission and it has really helped me to see how much truth and light is in it. I love this gospel and the peace it brings to my life. Rely on your Heavenly Father for anything you might need. Don't be afraid to share this light with others, it only brings blessings. I love you all! Have a great week!
~Sister Madisen Lloyd

Pictures: Picture 1. Me by the MSU fountain (again!) this time with less hair. Picture 2: Me and our investigator's dad who got baptized! We are buddies now too! 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tell Everyone Thanks

May 8, 2017

This week has been an experience! It's been one of the harder weeks of my mission. I definitely had some high points but for some reason I was really anxious and homesick. I managed to make it through so all is well. 

Monday- P-Day! We accomplished all of the needful things and a little extra ;) Then we went to FHE and Sports Night! We had several investigators there so it was awesome to be able to make contact with them. 

Tuesday- Service! I love our Tuesday service! The lady we volunteer for is named Rose and she is so good to us! She is one of the friendliest people I have ever met. We spent a lot of the afternoon on campus talking to people. Not a whole lot came out of any of the conversations we had but that's okay because we were at lease being productive and trying. That night we went to Institute and had some investigators there so we got to stay and listen and we talked about Infant Baptisms and what it says about them in Moroni 8! It was an interesting topic! 

Wednesday-  Wednesday was a really good day! We had a lot happening. That morning we went on campus for a while and talked to people and that was really positive! We got a couple of potential investigators and talked to one, very interesting, guy. He had some skewed opinions about the church and Joseph Smith... I won't go into detail but it was interesting to see how people get confused. He had very interesting ideas about faith as well. Whenever we tried to correct or testify he would talk over us so we ended up just leaving. Then we had a lesson with our investigator, Audrey. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it was very interesting because she already believed that we lived with Heavenly Father before this life and that is one part of the Plan of Salvation I have never had someone already believe in! It was awesome! Later on we tracked down a few less active members and had some good conversations. It's so sad to see that so many people are willing to fall away for the smallest reasons. 

Thursday- Thursday was bumpin! We had the table that morning and we didn't get to talk to a whole lot of people because there was a table next to us who had people dancing in front of it so it made it a little difficult to talk to people over the  music. After that we had a lesson with Brooklyn, who we tracted into about a week ago. She was awesome! She grew up Southern Baptist and she said that in her house when she was younger you DID NOT talk about the Book of Mormon. We left one with her and she said she would read it and try to make sure she remained open to the idea that it could be true. Which is awesome! That's all the Lord asks of us! After that we had a lesson with our recent convert, Samuel. He's so awesome! We talked about the priesthood and he agreed to start getting ready to receive it! Exciting times! We also met with Olivia. We love Olivia! We talked about the Word of Wisdom. We asked her to live the word of wisdom and she agreed! It was the first time that we have invited her to do something that will push her a little, so we are praying that this will help her to see a difference in her life and help her feel the spirit so she can receive revelation! Lastly we had a lesson with James! He's one of my favorite people. We talked (again) about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and he just was not feeling it. We decided we were going to pray with him and ask if God loves him and so we did and it was so awesome! He said "I saw the sign language sign for love in my head" and we were like "that's awesome!" and he said "well... yeah... but I didn't really get an answer..." I wanted to bang my head against the wall! We helped him see that that was his answer and he left. We were a little worried about how he felt about that lesson until he texted us that night and said "Hey! Tell Lloyd thanks. because of her I realized that I love myself in some weird way." I almost died! I was so grateful. It was awesome. 

Friday- On Friday we had Zone Conference which is where President and Sister Loveland come and talk to us as a group and instruct us. I learned so much about light and how God is fighting our battles. Up until this point in the week I was pretty gloomy, I wouldn't say I was grumpy but I definitely wasn't cheery. Sister Loveland talked about light. She showed us a picture of a landscape and told us to talk about the light in the picture. Sister Sanders and I talked about it and I said "there's only as much light as the hills allow to be there" and right then the spirit was like "Exactly you dummy!" okay, he didn't actually say that but I realized I was only going to have as much light in my life as I allowed to be there. The reason I was grumpy is because I was choosing to only focus on things that made me grumpy. I wasn't allowing light in. It was a really cool moment and I decided to change my attitude! 

Saturday- On Saturday we met with our recent convert, Alec. We had a really good conversation about the priesthood and the responsibilities that come with that. He is really awesome and had a lot of good questions and insights. He agreed to start preparing to recieve the priesthood and also informed us that he and his girlfriend are planning on getting married next year in Ireland and Sister Sanders and I are invited... guess who's taking a trip to Ireland next year! ;) 

Sunday- Sunday was awesome per usual! I love Sundays. Sacrament Meeting was really good and I felt the spirit so strongly. It was amazing! Then after church the second councilor, Brother Cane came up to me and said "Sister Lloyd, I'm calling it in." I was so confused and everyone started freaking out. I couldn't figure out what was happening. He assigned me to give a talk this Sunday on "moms and missionary work" so I'm going to have to do some studying and figure out how I want to tie those two together!

Monday- P-Day! I got a haircut! It's not a good haircut! No pictures will be sent :) Just kidding it's not that bad... but it's not good. 

I have had such an interesting week and the thing that stands out to me most that I want to testify of is that we have as much light in our life as we allow. God always fights our battles and he always provides what we need, whether it's food or blessing or joy it's always there. However, if we are not worthy or if we are ungrateful then we will not see the things that the Lord has placed in our lives to bless us. Allow Him to bless you! Allow yourself to be happy and to see light and to know that God is looking out for you. I love the Lord and I know that he looks out for me! I'm just not always great at recognizing it. "Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name: he shall thoroughly plead their cause..." (Jeremiah 50:34) Our Redeemer is strong and he will plead our cause! Rely on Him and you will never be let down! I love you all! Have a great week!  

~Sister Madisen Lloyd

Picture 1: I got to see Sister Naegle at Zone Conference! I love Sister Naegle! Picture 2: Sister Sanders and I helped set up for a Cinco de Mayo party! Picture 3: A picture by the MSU Fountain

Monday, May 1, 2017

Friday - The Day Sister Lloyd Died.

May 1, 2017

I feel like I have nothing new to say since I just emailed on Wednesday! But I will try to think of something interesting to write about! It has been raining non stop in Missouri this week. There flood warnings like crazy. It's so much rain. I'm about ready to build an ark. 

Wednesday (fake P-Day)- On Wednesday I was starting to have a tickle in my throat and I sneezed a little more than usual. I went through P-Day doing all of the usual stuff, grocery shopping, laundry, emailing and my zone even got together to play volleyball! While I was at volleyball I had the thought "you're going to get sick this week, but it's okay. You need it." I was confused a little but I thought "I will not be getting sick, I don't have time to be sick." and went on. After volleyball Sister Sanders looked at me and said "hey! Do you wanna go home and get some sleep? I feel, in my heart, like that might be a good idea." I thought it was a weird comment but I never turn down a nap so we went home. Wednesday night we had English class. I came home and took some Emergen-C and went to bed. 

Thursday- On Thursday we did our table at MSU. It was more dead than usual. We didn't really even get to talk to anyone because no one walked by. As the end of semester approaches the foot traffic slows down and usually the only people who walk by are the ones who have to, which means it's the same people every week. We had a lesson and it went really well! Even our investigator said it was a really good lesson! All day long I had a cough and the sniffles but nothing too awful. Thursday was a pretty slow day.

Friday- On Friday I woke up and felt like I got hit by a taco bus. It was the worst. I couldn't breathe, raging headache, fever, the whole nine yards. I walked out of the room and Sister Sanders immediately told me to go back to sleep. Our mission president is huge on not missing a day of work because you don't feel good. He says that a majority of the work that is done in the world is done by people who feel less than stellar. He always talks about a story where he had the flu and he threw up all down the bunk line while he was feeding cows. I told Sister Sanders that I was fine and I would "throw up down the bunk line" she laughed and told me that it was better for me to sleep and get better and go to work later that night or the next day than to make it worse by going out and working in the rain. I said I would go to sleep for a little while longer and she should wake me up if I wasn't awake in an hour. She didn't. I slept for almost 10 hours and she was so sweet. She cloroxed the whole apartment and then did a lot of phone and clarical work so that I could sleep. I woke up and still felt like garbage but we spent the rest of the day doing some planning/ prep work for our Sunday baptism. I felt really bad I didn't work through it but in the end it was a huge blessing. 

Saturday- Weekly Planning! On Saturday we did the rest of our weekly planning and went out and did some less active member finding and tracting! We also went to a lunch for one of our members who is leaving on a mission this week. He had a TON of non members there that he wanted us to talk to! It was so awesome! He is a great member missionary. After that we did some more visits to less active members and just tried to figure out if the people on our ward roster still lived where it said they do. The one downside to the YSA is that they are mostly college students so 1. There's a lot of turnover. People move in and out all the time so it's hard to keep track and 2. Whether the people on our roster stay in our ward or not they move apartments constantly. So it's really hard to find people. We also did some online training. I have finished all of my newby trainings that I needed to get done online so I started looking into some family history. It's frustrating because we can't google anything so I couldn't look up ancestors that I had questions about but I was telling Sister Sanders about how I would love to look into some of the people when I get home. 

Sunday- On Sunday we had church! Church is always awesome. It was "Senior Sunday" so all of the high school seniors who will soon be attending our single's ward came so that was awesome and then a lot of members of the ward brought non members so we were busy all three hours trying to meet and fellowship people. After church I was talking to the new ward clerk's wife, Sister Maughan. I mentioned that my mom's maiden name was Maughan. We chatted and ended up figuring out we connect at our ancestor, Peter Maughan. We talked about that for a while and it was really fun. After church we did some tracting and then went and got everything ready for Samuel's baptism. His baptism was such an awesome experience. He was really well supported and the spirit was really strong. He is the only member in his family now but his parents both came to support him and so that was really neat. He was baptized by Spencer, the member who leaves for his mission this week. They became really good friends and it was an emotional moment for them! After the baptism Sister Maughan came up to me and had a book about the life of Peter Maughan for me to borrow and read when I have time as well as some family history information printed off for me! She said that Brother Maughan said he would put the book on my flashdrive for me so I have it when I get home! It was really neat because just the day before I was telling Sister Sanders that I have a lot of cool family history on both sides that I don't know much about and then BOOM a tender mercy so that I can learn more about that side of my family. God is so good!

This week was short between emails but it was great none the less. This week was a huge testimony builder for me that God knows what we need even when we don't. Whether it's a sick day or a really loving ward clerk and his wife who happen to be distantly related to you. He will always take care of us and give us the righteous needs/desires of our hearts. I am so humbled to be a daughter of a Heavenly Father who is so actively aware of me. I know that he is aware of all of you as well. He loves his children so much. He just wants to bless us. I also know that he has asked us to pray. I have always struggled with prayers. I used to feel a little silly praying because it always felt like I was talking to myself or just whining about things I needed. I used to have very short, insincere prayers when I decided to pray at all. Being on a mission has really strengthened my testimony of prayer because I have had to rely on it so much  more. Prayer is an amazing tool and it only allows Heavenly Father to bless us more. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers and that he blesses us with things we pray for and with things that we don't. I love you all! Pray often! Heavenly Father loves you!


~Sister Madisen Lloyd

Pictures! I don't have a lot of pictures this week but I do have two! 

Picture 1: Samuel's baptism picture! Samuel is the one next to me and Spencer is next to Sister Sanders. Spencer is our awesome member missionary who is turning into a real missionary this week! Picture 2: Sister Sanders and I got to peek in on a scrimmage game for MSU! Samuel, our (now) recent convert plays for them! He's number 12!