Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lloyd's Baptism

Back in December I was introduced to an awesome man named Lloyd. He is someone that my companion at the time, Elder Hathaway, had been in contact with for a little while. So Elder Hathaway and I started teaching him more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and out beliefs. From the very beginning Lloyd told us about some of the amazing experiences he had had from simply seeing his local missionaries. I will let him share those experiences though! From before he even started talking with us, Lloyd had had some amazing experiences. I remember the first time we talked about them and we asked how he felt about it. He said he would need some time to think about it. Later that night (probably around 2 am his time) he sent a message sharing his thoughts on those experiences. This became a fun pattern of us teaching him a little bit, then him taking it and pondering and praying about what we shared, and sending us a message in the middle of the night with his findings!

After a few months of teaching him we talked a lot about baptism. He knew the Church and knew that baptism was something important but was still having some problems with it. For the longest time it seemed like his thought on baptism was something like "It will happens when it happens." (You will have to correct me on that if I am wrong, Lloyd!) And for the longest time it seemed like things kind of hit a standstill with us but Lloyd continued to do the right things--go to church, pray, read the Book of Mormon, meet with the local missionaries, etc. Then one day in early March, we got a message from Lloyd saying, " Look forward to meeting Saturday. Oh by the way, I have a new profile pic on skype....." Of course we immediately checked out his new picture to find that he had decided on a date to get baptized!!

Things just picked up from there and before we knew it, it was a month and a half later and we were having a lesson with him the night before he got baptized! It has been great to see the change in Lloyd over the past few months from wondering if forgiveness was really possible to preparing to receive the priesthood soon! Lloyd is such a great example to me of amazing faith and searching to find answers to questions! If you want someone fun to talk to, Lloyd is definitely the guy for that!

Well enough from me. The point of this was to hear Lloyd's story and testimony. So here it is! :)

In August last year, my mother went into hospital for a routine operation. Unfortunately, the operation went wrong and she suddenly became quite ill and was kept in hospital indefinitely. About that time I was at work and saw two Mormon missionaries getting their shopping. I remember saying to one of my staff members “Hey, that’s not something you see everyday!” In 6 years of living in Brighton, I think it may have only been the 2nd time I had ever seen Mormon missionaries.

My mother’s situation continued to deteriorate and she was moved to Kings Hospital in London. It became a dreadful worry. Yet the funny thing was, the worse she became, the more I would see the missionaries at work and all of a sudden I started to feel “positive” about her situation. I remember one day I had to authorise a bank card of one of these missionaries and I remember it belonged to an Elder Martin. As I started to get these “positive” feelings, so my mother’s health started to improve and these “positive” feelings continued. It was just the strangest thing.

Her health continued to improve and she was ready to come home. At this point for whatever reason I ceased to see the missionaries and I never saw them again whilst at work.

Then in early October something terrible happened. My mother went into serious relapse and had to be operated on immediately.

The next morning (I now know this to be Weds 5th October) I rushed up to see her and was told she had gone into surgery and I couldn’t see her for at least 24 hours. I was utterly at a loss as to what to do so I left the hospital and took the train back home. Whilst sitting on the train I fell into a deep dark place and felt I had failed my poor mother and that maybe I should go back and so got off at a place called Wandsworth in South London.

It was somewhere I had never been before and probably somewhere I will never go to again without reason. I remember walking for a long time and finally sitting down on a bench. I remember sitting on this bench and attempting to pull myself together without success and so I pulled an old Book of Mormon out of my rucksack that I had bought from ebay for 1p. I had purchased this book a while back after seeing the missionaries at work for some strange reason. It is from 1977 and has the Angel Moroni on the cover.

Anyway, I opened this book, flicked through it and of course it meant to me nothing at all.

Then something altogether strange happened. I was sitting there and somebody said to me very clearly in an American accent something like “Everything is going to be OK”, or “Don’t worry, it’s going to be alright”. (I kick myself to this day that I don’t remember what was said exactly.)

But when I looked around, no one was there that could have spoken these words to me. I remember looking behind, left and right, but there was no one there at all. Only in front of me, there were 3 men talking about 3 or 4 metres away. I saw them but didn’t really take any notice at all, so I got up and went to the station and continued my journey home.

On this train journey home, I started to feel such a strange feeling. What a curious thing that had happened! The more I thought about it the more those “positive” feelings returned, but many times stronger than they had ever before. Somehow, I knew my mother was going to be Ok and in the event she was. The operation was a success and she is now very healthy and at home.

After this, life continued and carried on, but after a while something started to “niggle” me. I began to think again of Elder Martin and the “positive” feeling. I felt that I owed somebody something. Whether it was him, my mother, me or whatever I didn’t know.

So late one night I contacted Requesting a missionary visit.

I didn’t get one.

But then at the end of December, just after Christmas I had a message from Elder Hathaway from the Referral Centre in Utah.

2 days later I was at home and there was a buzz at the door and my flatmate Ralph answered. He said “there’s a Chinese guy downstairs that wants to talk to you Lloyd”. Ha ha! That was Elder Lam and Elder Simon!

I went downstairs and was very nervous, but I took their Book of Mormon. They asked me to pray with them but I refused as I was too embarrassed.

Then I started to meet with them and the rest is history! Well…not quite that simple!

Lloyd and his local missionaries!
I went to the Sacrament in Brighton and that completely blew my mind! It was like no other service that I had been to. It was very uplifting and emotional. I knew then that this was a Church I could understand and felt right for me. However, I still wasn’t sure if I was ready to make such a commitment and although I continued to meet with Elder Lam, Elder Simon and Chris I was unsure as to where this was headed.

3 weeks later, I had planned to go to Sacrament in Brighton but something happened which has changed everything. On the Monday before, I woke up at 02:30 in the morning and something told me I HAD to go to church at Worthing on Sunday. I still can’t understand why I felt that. I spoke to Elder Hathaway and Elder Tucker via video call on Skype asking for help and they counselled that I should go. So I sent a text to Elders Lam and Simon to say I would be at Worthing.

So of course, I took the train 20 miles west as they advised.

I felt a little nervous when I walked into the chapel and introduced myself to Elder Root. The other Elder was talking to someone else but when he turned around and introduced himself as Elder Johnson I had to catch myself for a moment as this person seemed vaguely familiar.

As the service continued I started to become extremely emotional as the “positive” feelings returned but with such strength that I had never felt before. Then, as the final lady was talking she spoke about waking in the night and knowing this was the true church. At that moment everything fell into place. I immediately recognised Elder Johnson as the person I had seen in London and the most overwhelming presence of joy and peace came upon me. If I was able to compare it to anything, it would be how I imagine I would have felt if an angel was in the room. I have never had that feeling before and I’m sure I never will again.

I asked the Elders to come outside and briefly relayed the whole story although it was very difficult to do so. The weather was clear and fine and on the way home I stopped and reflected for a few moments on the entire situation, and at that point I knew that this Church is True.

Just as Lloyd said, I also know that this Church is true and it has been an amazing experience to witness how he has grown over the past few months! That is the joy that the gospel brings to everyone! 

No comments:

Post a Comment