This week was so amazing! It was really hard and it stretched me as a teacher but I have grown and improved more this week than I think I have so far on my mission. I'm so blessed to have such an awesome opportunity to grow!
Monday- On Monday we had P-Day! We did all the needful things and had a great day! Sister Moser bought her own bike so we aren't borrowing one from a member anymore which is awesome! After P-Day ended we decided that, because FHE was a pool party, it was probably not ideal for us to go despite all of the non members there. So we started biking around Springfield looking for the less actives on our ward roster. At one point we were biking and we passed by these two guys who were looking a little sketchy to me and all of a sudden I realized one of them had a gun! He was just taking a stroll with his friend and his gun in his hand. I was a little nervous until I remembered I am a representative of Jesus Christ and that I am 1) protected and 2) supposed to talk to everybody. I said hello and then quickly peddled away. After several hours of biking we finally headed home.
Tuesday- On Tuesday we had a really exciting day! We adopted a missionary from another companionship for the day because her companion had to go to a meeting in Arkansas and she had no where to go. Her name was Sister Johnson and this was her second week in the mission. We went onto campus and talked to some people and she was so good at talking to people! I was so impressed! We went to a lesson with a girl we have been trying to see for a while. She just kept missing appointments. Finally last Saturday we got a hold of her and she texted us and was like "I promise I really want to learn. Hopefully you can give me just ONE more chance." We were happy to hear she was sincere and told her it was fine. Scheduled the appointment for Tuesday and moved on. When we got to her door her roommate opened the door and said "Hi, Jennifer told me to tell you sorry for wasting your time. She's not interested. Have a great day." It was a little bit disappointing. We moved forward and went to meet Alec at the park where we have his lessons. Our lesson with Alec was so good. We followed up on the talk that we gave him to read called "What Lack I Yet?" and he said he hadn't read it but he was pretty sure he knew what the Lord was going to ask him to give up. I told him I was pretty sure he knew as well. We talked about "CPR" Church, Praying and Reading and how those are the things that will keep you spiritually alive and it was really good. We invited him to pick one of those to improve on. He chose reading. When I asked him where he was at in the Book of Mormon he told me he was in Mosiah 5. He told me about what was happening and I said "Mosiah is SO GOOD! I need to read it again soon." He looks at me and says "I'll race you." MY RECENT CONVERT CHALLENGED ME TO A SCRIPTURE READING CONTEST! HECK YES! I accepted the challenge and we are now racing to see who can finish first. It's always a good feeling when someone you are teaching has a desire to read and allows you to be a part of it. That night we had a lesson with a new investigator who was really nice! He agreed to start meeting with us and taking the lessons. It was a good lesson.
Wednesday- On Wednesday we had a lesson with one of our newer investigators, Tobias. Tobias is interesting. He has some very different interpretations of the things it says in the Bible. This week he showed us one scripture that he said was talking about dinosaurs. We were a little shocked and didn't know what to say. But we were REALLY shocked when he disappeared into his house to get his Bible and then came out and read us a scripture and says "You know the pledge of allegiance? This scripture says that that's a load of bologna. All my life I said it until I read this scripture but now I understand that it's a sin." I was so shocked I didn't know what to say, that was definitely not what the scripture was saying but I didn't know how to tell him that. Sister Moser handled it really well and just said "I'm not sure that that's what that is saying, but thank you for telling us." We had a lesson with our investigator, Justin. His mom is a member and so she also cooked dinner for us. We started the stop smoking workshop with Justin and we are hoping that he will be able to kick his smoking habit. That night we were biking home from the institute building and I hear someone yell "NEIGHBORS!" I looked and it came from a group of guys sitting in front of their Frat House. Sister Moser stopped and said hi. We asked them how they were doing and made small talk until one of them says "are y'all ever going to come have a drink with us?" I was worried for a minute until another one (the one who shouted neighbors) slaps him on the arm and says "We have TALKED about this! They are CHURCH LADIES! They don't drink!" and then apologizes for him. I was cracking up and we just said thanks for the offer and biked home.
Thursday- On Thursday we had a busy day! We biked to have another lesson with Alec and it was really good. We followed up on his scripture reading (I'm ahead of him in Mosiah) and then had a really good lesson on commandments. Later we had a lesson with two of our investigators, Katie and Julia They are very Southern Baptist and Julia informed us that at one of her church camps she "took a seminar on the Book of Mormon!" Awesome. We have had several question and answer sessions with them but we decided that that is no longer going to cut it. We invited them to take the lessons and not just ask us questions. Katie counter offered and said "How about you tell us what you believe and we will teach you what we believe out of the Bible?" Sister Moser agreed. I am very nervous to see how these lessons will start going. Our purpose as missionaries is to teach and not to be taught so it makes me really nervous that we just basically agreed to let her Bible Bash us. Updates to come on that! The rest of the evening was good! We biked around and tried to find some people on the ward roster that Bishop Allphin sent us to find. Overall it was a good day!
Friday- On Friday we did service and that was great as always. We also biked to a lesson on campus that cancelled and then on the way home we basically got caught in a Tsunami! It was raining so hard I couldn't see and the wind just about blew me off of my bike. We hid out in the stadium on campus until it lightened a little bit and then biked home as quickly as we could. It was raining so hard! It was crazy! A little later we met with Justin and taught him the plan of salvation and followed up on his smoking. He is still doing good! After that we had dinner and then a member took us out to go visit some people. We visited a lot of potential investigators and a few less actives. It was a really good day!
Saturday- Saturday was weekly planning so it was a long day inside. We planned for all of our investigators and planned all of our lessons. Later in the afternoon we got a text from Sister Moser's old companion. She had gone home a couple of transfers ago and was going to be in Springfield with her family and wanted to buy us Ice cream. Sister missionaries never say no to free ice cream! We met them and had ice cream and it was a really good break! After that we biked home and finished weekly planning.
Sunday- On Sunday we went to church and then we went out tracting with a member. It was a really good, productive time and we were able to get three potential investigators. We gave out three copies of the Book of Mormon and have two return appointments! I felt very blessed. After that we went out biking to find less actives. I was really discouraged because we weren't finding ANYBODY and it didn't feel very productive. Sister Moser was awesome though and kept me laughing so that I didn't want to quit. We went back to the institute for a few minutes before it was time to be in and we figured out how we want to teach the Restoration to our Baptist investigators so that hopefully it will make sense and they won't be able to ask tons of Bible Bash questions.
This week I have seen a recurring theme, sacrifice. This wasn't a fun theme to see because I definitely felt like it was Heavenly Father telling me that it was time for me to sacrifice something so that I could be a better missionary. I decided I would ask what it is he needs from me and the answer I got was "quit complaining." I realized that Heavenly Father was asking me to stop complaining about what he was asking me to do (namely riding a bike) and to start recognizing that as I did it I would be blessed. I decided I was NOT complaining ANY MORE. Every time I got on my bike I picked a different song and I would sing it in my head as I rode. As I made this effort to be more positive about doing what the Lord would have me do I noticed that I was better able to teach with the spirit. I hadn't been grumpy getting to appointments because my legs or feet hurt or because we almost got hit by people texting and driving and it made all the difference in the world in my teaching. I was better able to discern people's needs and teach to them. I am by no means perfect at this new goal and I need a constant reminder every day to not complain but I am so grateful for this opportunity to make a sacrifice so that I can better meet the needs of my investigators. I am so grateful that I have opportunities my whole life to sacrifice things to be closer to the Lord. I have seen so many blessings come from making sacrifices. I would encourage all of you, if you ever feel like the Lord is asking you to sacrifice something, or you just know something isn't helping you come closer to Him, just make the sacrifice. I promise that God makes it worth it. Thanks so much for all of your love and support! I love you all!
~Sister Madisen Lloyd
Picture 1: Sister Moser, Sister Johnson and I! Picture 2: This homeless guy asked us for money, Sister Johnson gave him ten dollars because she is a saint and didn't know we weren't supposed to give homeless people money and later we saw him with a huge bottle of vodka Picture 3: Sister Moser, Sister Pond (Sister Moser's old companion) and I