About Me

My photo
I am studying Psychology and Sociology at Utah Valley University, and working at a treatment center for troubled teens. I love life, being with people from all cultures, speaking Spanish, and traveling all over the world. I will never stop laughing, dancing, singing, enjoying, appreciating, and just being.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December in Cardoba Argentina

Monday December 13th…….

Hello family and friends!!!! Is it not crazy that Christmas is so close?! I can’t even believe it! The other day we were planning our meals with members and what days and we asked one member if she could do it not this Friday, but the next, and she was like Christmas Eve.....whatttttttttt!! Its almost here! I hope you are all excited!! So I do not know even where to begin - it has been the most crazy, fast, busy, wonderful week ever! So let me just start with how happy I am with this transfer and how much I love my companion! We get along sooo well its sooo great - and she is soooo obedient and such a hard worker - I love it!!! At first it was a little hard, because I have been in my mission a little over a month, so I am way new- and she is new to this area - and only has 5 months in the field, so we both are just learning together and progressing together, but it is SO good. This situation is really pushing us and making us step up - raise the bar, as my dad would say-and really rely on the Lord and have so much faith.

So let me start with the awk sitches that happened - of course with me there will always be a few of these. So of course I am still a little new to this place and don’t know where I am going all the time so my comp just has to follow me and I always just have to -follow my heart (my favorite line) - and hope that I know where I am going, and that we’ll end up somewhere good. So we were biking in this dirt rode and this family walked by us on our bikes, and their little boy was running after this ball that was coming my way. For some reason I thought I could make it around this young child in time, so we wouldn’t collide, but of course with my luck- not knowing Spanish, and being a missionary, in front of this whole family, run over this little boy with my bike and we both toppled over! Oh my gosh! I can’t even tell you - I wanted to cry and I thought my life was over. As I got up, I literally just kept thinking to myself - like what? Did I really just run over this family’s little boy - and to make things worse and make me feel even worse, it turns out the little boy was handicapped. I got up and tried helping the boy, but he just ran away, and I just kept saying ahhh perdon- perdon - perdon! I look up and the family is like laughing and they just say it’s totally fine and don’t even care, and they said the boy is fine and everyone is just like laughing...literally this would happen to me. Just to make this situation more awkward, we end up contacting this family of like 6 and get their address, and we might just have a cita (discussion) with them and they might just be baptized one day....maybe not – haha- but could you imagine that story....

We also found a family of 8 this week and have been teaching them! They are great and its super sad they are way poor, and live with and have like nothing. Like 20 people live in this little house and there are just kids everywhere! It’s soooo hot in their house with no air or fan, and we are all just crammed in this little room just sweating. I feel awkward, but what can you do. They have this crazy neighbor that is always there when we go by named Maria, and she is literally nuts…..like its hard for me not to laugh at her when she comes around. She is always drunk or smoking and is this huge chubby lady with long gypsy type skirts and hiking boots with high socks. She always is just like sweating and pacing around and she will randomly come in and scream at us - she is a Jehovah’s Witness - and yells how the bible is solo and goes on randomly about Noah in the bible and I can’t even tell you how interesting this is. One time she said since we are baptized, and they are not, we should cover our heads. We said no, but she felt it was important, so she grabbed a little kids underwear just lying on the ground and put it on her head and just kept going off and pointing her finger in our face...it’s so hard for me not to laugh, but lets just say we try to keep her out during our lessons or its hard to take anything seriously.

Normally, every day we are fed by members, but yesterday we did not have anyone to feed us, and we had noooo food in our apartment. We figured this was just a chance to be humble missionaries and we literally looked for anything in our place to cook. We had rice, peas, and onions....we ended up making this poor mixture, and blessed it, and were so ready for our cute little humble meal together, but then of course a knock came at our door and my favorite members EVER found out we had no food and brought us a big chicken and French-fries and ice cream. We are so lucky - they are the best!

Also last night right before choir, we were in the library in the church looking for paper, and this little girl came in with us who is about 6. She closed the door behind her and five minutes later we just hear her screaming bloody murder and pounding at the door and we turn around to find out there is no door handle and we are locked in. We try to calm her down but nothing works and of course at this time there is a ward counsel meeting with all the important members, and they are just interrupted by this little girl balling and screaming in this closet. Finally someone came and opened it, and we just looked so dumb- haha- the two missionaries locked in this closet with this little girl- poor thing.

Sorry that was a lot of stories! But so much has gone down - and not just funny stories, but we have truly seen SO many miracles here in Arroyito this week!!!! First of all I have been speaking Spanish like crazy, and it’s truly such a blessing, I can’t even tell you what has happened! Everyone has been saying how much I understand and can speak! I have been teaching lessons a lot too, and contacting like crazy- it’s been so good. I finally feel like a missionary, and I am useful and working! We also have found tons of news, and this week we set 6 baptism dates with people!!!!!! It’s so exciting! Lucy’s of course for this month- and then one family - the parents are not married but are getting married this month and their date is for January and also the family of 8 - its a single mom Lorena and her daughter Claudia who is 14, and their son Juan who is 8 - the rest of the kids are super young. We have been teaching all of them every day day and really working hard with them! It was hard though, because one of the families – his name is Diego - only works Sundays in the morning so they couldn’t come to church and we are really praying they will find a new job. Only Lucy an Claudia were able to attend church yesterday, so that was hard that not everyone can come, but it was a good spiritual Sunday and we felt good about it. I truly have had the best week ever!! We have just been working sooooo hard, because we just have so much faith in Arroyito, and know we can find those people that Heavenly Father has prepared for the gospel, and teach them!

I truly do feel so blessed to be able to be out on my mission in this time - this wonderful season of Christmas. What better place to be then serving others and looking for people to help every minute of the day. I have never focused so much on the true meaning of Christmas in my life - how happy and how much joy we can feel while we focus our thoughts on Christ and his birth, his life, and really try to feel of His love and be charitable and serve others as he would. As much as I love the spirit of Christmas, with the lights, music, snow, food and decorations - I have never felt this type of the spirit of Christmas in my life. It is filled throughout my whole soul and heart daily, and I just feel so grateful and thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ, and for his wonderful perfect life and what an example he was to us. I try to just let this beautiful spirit of light carry me daily in the streets and lead me to those people that need it to shine on them a little this holiday, and to be able to better come to know their Savior Jesus Christ, and how he can make their lives happier and more full of joy!

One of my favorite things we say in contacts with random people in the streets is “Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Of course - everyone here says, “Si, si, si - and then we always ask them what their relationship is with him, and how He helps them in their lives. Sometimes people don’t even know what to say or don’t really even know what Christ did for them...so many people believe in Christ, and as Christians, we celebrate Christmas, but who is Jesus Christ really - and why do we celebrate this holiday?

I would just like to share with all of you how I have come to know my Savior and Redeemer throughout my mission, and who He truly is to me. A quote I really like, that I heard on my mission was - you cannot invite others to come unto Christ unless he is standing right next to you....every day since I have been set apart as a missionary, I have prayed so hard to have my Savior and Lord with me in this time, because I am his representative - that is my calling and that is what my name tag says. This is His work, his gospel, and His time that I have given Him - and just in these few months in my mission I realize that never before have I felt such unconditional love, peace, guidance, hope, help, strength, courage, and light from any other source in my life……and through developing my testimony and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, my Savior, I know that without him this work would not be possible.

In this season of Christmas, as we ponder and remember the birth of Jesus Christ, I am so grateful for the things He did in his life and the example He was to all. Through coming to know him personally, is how I can testify with power and love to the people of this country of His truth, and of his gospel. It is through these experiences that we are able to fulfill our purpose as missionaries-invite others to come unto Christ - and oh how I know of the promises and changes that await these people, because I have seen them in my own life - and literally in times where I feel like I cannot go on any more - Christ has given me that strength and encouragement and love that has lifted me up physically, spiritually, and emotionally, that has really been carrying me the whole time that I have been here as his representative and his witness.

One of my favorite talks that I heard in the MTC truly changed my life, and I want share a part of it.......Missionary work is not easy, because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy - we are the church of Jesus Christ - this is the truth - and He is our great eternal head. How could we believe it would be easy for us, when it was never ever easy for Him? It seems to me that missionaries and leaders have to spend at least a few moments in Gethsemane, and at least take a step or two toward the summit of Calvary. If you wonder if there isn’t an easier way, you should remember that you are not the first one to ask that - someone a lot greater and a lot grander asked a long time ago if there wasn’t an easier way. Remember this that when you struggle, when you are rejected, when you are spit upon and cast out and made a hiss and a byword, YOU ARE STANDING WITH THE BEST LIFE THIS WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN - THE ONLY PURE AND PERFECT LIFE EVER LIVED. You have reason to stand tall and be grateful that the living Son of the living God knows all about your sorrows and afflictions. The only way to salvation is through Gethsemane, and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him - the way, the truth, and the light of this world. “The Miracle of a Mission” by Jeffrey Holland

Every day I am reminded of the sufferings and the sacrifice that my Savior made for me, and through the experiences I have with the Atonement daily, and coming unto my Savior- it just strengthens my testimony of Him and leads me to those people who need to hear my testimony! This is our message and this is our gospel……the gospel of JESUS CHRIST…..and in this season - this holiday, this month, we need to ponder, remember, and be grateful for the center and purpose of our lives - our Redeemer Jesus Christ - and what we can do in this wonderful holiday and time, is to be with our families, serve each other, and truly pray so intently and powerfully daily to do whatever we can to come closer to Him, because it is through Him that we find ourselves - our purpose, our happiness, our joys in this life - it is His life, and His example, and His way that we are free. This is my everlasting, ever joyful, and never ending testimony of Jesus Christ - and I hope during this Christmas, when you are with your families and feeling so much unity and love and peace in your hearts and in your homes-that you remember where it comes from- remember His birth and His life and remember who He truly is to you.

Family and friends - I love you all so much with all my hearts, and I do miss you, but there is nowhere else I would rather be in the world right now than a missionary - preaching this wonderful life changing and loving message to people that will bless their lives forever!

I hope you all have a good week, and I can’t wait to call you on Christmas!!!!

Love - Hermana Pond

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week 5 through 7

December! Finally- my favorite month!! While all of you are getting on your winter clothes and drinking hot chocolate and having fires - I am walking in the streets sweating like crazy, while it gets hotter and hotter here because its summer…..so much for tis the season.....it feels nothing like the season! But of course it is still the month of Christmas, and although they are not as into it here, and instead of singing Christmas carols and having Christmas trees, the people here light fire works and stay out all night - either way its a great holiday- and I am so excited for it to come!! I hope you are all getting excited and all festive with decorations in the house and listening to Christmas music. Last night when we had our usual choir practice with like the three people that attend...haha- love it - we sang some Christmas songs to get in the mood and it was really fun! I think me and my comp are going to buy a tree this week to be more festive...and guess what today was....TRANSFERS! My first one - I was so nervous! I thought I was for sure going to get a Latin comp and just never speak again and give up and become a mute- haha- buttt I got a way cute sister named Hermana Brown and she is from Arizona! She is super cute, easy going, happy and positive and ready to work- so I think we are going to get along greatttttt! She has only been in the mission like 5 months so she is way young, and I just got here, so I don’t really know the area here, so we are like training each other- haha- it will be a good experience.

So this week has been great! My last week with Hermana Dickey, everyone like knew she was leaving since he had been here for sooo long, so it was sad, but she is way excited for change. So we decided to try a new finding activity this week, and it is soooo awesome - I love it SO much. We did the same thing with the Book of Mormon, but this time instead of scriptures about the restoration, we did about 11 different scriptures about CHRIST! All of them are SO good, and talk about Christ and the Atonement. We also wrote a description that we give with the book that talks about the Christmas Season, and how this is a time to really think about Christ, and how this book will help them understand Him, and the way they can follow Him and His teachings and how He can help us in our lives! We also put red ribbon on the books and have been giving them as Christmas gifts to families – it has been so good so far, and we found some awesome families! One lady, Celeste, has 4 little kids and she seems really interested. We are going to go back and see how the reading went.

I truly do LOVE Christmas so much, because it is the perfect time to talk to people about Christ and who He really is and how we can personally develop a relationship with Him. Everyone here is catholic and they say they believe in Christ but no one ever can really say who He is and what He did for them and it is sooo important in our lives to understand who Christ really is and that He truly does live today and we can come unto Him and feel of His love!

When we were doing the finding activity, we got to this one man’s door and talked to him forever. We had a member with us and that is always good, because they can talk –haha- but this guy kept going on forever about doctrine and just kept trying to talk about facts and proof. Everyone was going back and forth, back and forth with their opinions about the Bible, and such and I just had this feeling I should really say something, but I kept fighting it, and kept doubting myself, thinking my comments don’t matter. I felt like my comp and this member could take care of this, but this feeling kept coming, and I really felt I should speak.

Finally, the man actually looked at me and wondered why I wasn’t talking, and what I had to say, and so in the best Spanish I had, I told him that this book - The Book of Mormon - is the reason I am here in Argentina. I talked about my own personal prayer to my Heavenly Father after I read it to know if its true – and that I got my answer, and that now I have that confirmation for myself - and that’s how I know that he can receive the same answer through prayer, if he really wants to know. He has two daughters around my age, so I asked him what it would be like for him as a father, if his daughters, being very young and going to another country, where they don’t know about the culture or don’t know the language and I asked how he would feel about that. He said it would be hard and he would be worried about them. I told him that I have a family of my own, and things in my country I could be doing like school and work, but because I have so much faith in these things I have learned – and read the Book of Mormon and got my answer that it is true - I knew that in this time in my life, as I am telling people in this country how I feel, that I would be taken care of and blessed from my Father in Heaven, and I have so much trust in him to help me – and trust that he will bless my parents! It’s hard for them to know I am out here doing this, because they worry, but they know of my testimony, and with all of our trust and love and faith in the Lord - everything will be taken care of and work out. I said, “That’s why I am here…..to tell people about this amazing Book of Christ that can change their life and bless their family forever!!” So of course I didn’t even get close to saying all of this in perfect Spanish- haha - but that was what came from my heart, and I knew he understood it all. He said he would read it and we are going back next week to see how it went!

So we worked a lot with Lucy this week and she has progressed so much. One night we were teaching her, and after talking about the plan of salvation and the 5 things we need to do on this earth, we talked about how she really needs to strengthen her faith in Christ and know she can be forgiven, and she agreed. We told her that we have been praying and thinking about her a lot lately, and we really feel she needs to come to our church to feel of the peace and love inside, and feel the spirit and meet the members. She agreed - and she came to church on Sunday!!! I prayed so hard all week she would come and she did - on Sunday morning we showed up at her house and she had the door open was all cute in her church clothes- at the table drinking mate’ all ready to go! She is the best! Her husband drove us and we invited him, but I have a feeling he will take a bit of time. Church went so well - the members were so awesome and the spirit was sooo strong in every meeting - it was testimony meeting so everyone just bore such powerful tender- hearted testimonies and everyone, including Lucy was crying. After we ate lunch at Lucy’s house with her whole family!!! It was soooo good to finally get to know them and talk to them- they are all sooo great- we really want to start teaching them all. We had my first asado, which is just like a huge BBQ and feast of all this Argentina meat- haha- it was good - and we made them tacos - it was so fun! We hope to set a date with Lucy this week!

Truly miracles are happening in Arroyito. I think this change will be good too. Last night 2 people randomly walked in the church, and just moved to the area and are looking for a good church...so cool! We gave them a tour and told them about it and we are meeting with them this week. We also found our good investigator, Blas, who is 19 and speaks English, and he is sooo cool and he definitely is going to be baptized - I love him!

So I am a little nervous, now that my comp is gone and I am the one that has to know everyone, and the area and everything, but I have tons of faith, and I know my new comp and I will get along great, and just work really hard and witness tons of miracles this Christmas season!!! I love this work and I love you all!!! Hope you all have a good week!

Love, Hermana Pond!!

Monday November 29th

Family and Friends!!! I truly just want to testify that I know that the Lord lives and with him by our side, we are capable of doing and overcoming anything. Without a doubt in my mind I know that this work and this gospel is the way to be happy in this life. Last week was definitely a challenge for me and I did get to a point where I didn’t think I could do it. I truly questioned if I was ever going to be able to overcome the things I was going through and feeling. After so much transformation in myself, and pleading to my Father in Heaven to help me and give me strength and a way to change, I really do feel like a new person. It is like I am in the exact same place -same people -same things- but I am just looking at everything in a different light now-a different perspective-and through this simple act -this slight change on my part-I am happy and I am enjoying everyday. I know that Heavenly Father loves us and he never wants us to be unhappy or depressed or feel like we can’t do it. Through these experiences, more than anytime in my life, I know so clearly in my heart and mind that through coming unto Christ and having his help in everything we do-anything is possible.

I do know too, that anything can be fixed by comfortable and healthy communication. It is so simple, but for some reason we all just get so prideful or scared, and I really thought that communication was something I was good at! (haha) I am not going to lie, but we are all learning and growing so much. My companion and I finally just had to air the grievances (as my dad would call it) and just vented and talked things out- and she had no idea the way I was feeling, and she felt bad. It’s still a process day by day-because we are VERY different- and do not always agree - but really, that’s why its SO important to always be in tune and communicating and know how we each feel so we can just have unity and love and always have the spirit with us.

So it has been a good week here in Candyland Arroyito! Something that is really exciting is we are starting to run every morning, and I am learning to love it! So ready for a marathon when I get home! And something that I love about the people here is that they are just super honest. We were at lunch with one of my favorite families and the daughter that just got back from her mission was asking us if we have gained weight in our missions. After my comp talked she asked me, and I was like- uh I am not sure- I think so- and my comp was like, no no she is flacita- whatev haha- but then I showed the girl pictures of myself before I entered the MTC and she definitely confirmed that I am getting fat...like she said that bluntly...hahaha shoot. So I am stoked because it just motivated me to stop being such a fatty and eating so much- just because people always are like oh you are so skinny your lucky you can eat what you want...false! I think its a trick...haha -so yeah that was a good wake up call. We also had to clean the church this week. Missionaries are normally not suppose to -the members are- but things happen -so we always get that call and they need our help- and of course when we show up they just send us straight to the bathrooms...haha -good times.

Also it rained super hard this week which was way fun and nice for a change since its SO hot- but one day as we were riding on the road on our bikes and I was just super happy waving to everyone in the streets loving life and all the sudden like 2 HUGE semis drive by and just water splashes ALL down me -like you would see in the movies- hahah -how embarrassing! I laughed it off as others that saw laughed about it as well with me.

So we were super lucky this week! Our district only has six people and our mission president drove out and picked us up and got us all together and we had a training meeting all day -just us!- And it seriously changed my mission. My mission president is my inspiration. He is such an amazing person and such a good leader. I just feel so blessed to be able to be counseled and taught by him. It felt so good just to get together again like MTC days as missionaries and talk about the gospel, and learning ways to be better teachers and how to have more success. We really focused on finding people’s needs and how we can get to know them sooo well, and truly listen and understand where they are coming from, so we can receive inspired questions and comments. If we truly understand them, then we can plan for the message or lesson to go directly to their heart, and help them feel the spirit and help them teach themselves, and know what change they need in their life. Its so simple too, and I just loved that the president kept focusing on the feelings, and always reminding people and having talks about how they feel - recognizing when they feel good or bad in situations and which path or way they want for their life and for their families - recognizing and just wanting to be around positive and good places that are for your higher good so you can feel the spirit and live to your highest potential.

It’s just so crucial we are all always remembering those people and places and things that inspire us and makes us happy! Why not do those things every day if we know the results of them - going to church, praying, reading, serving others - its so easy for people to get distracted or lazy, or feel fear or doubt, but I know that through doing these things we find joy and happiness and we will always ALWAYS come closer to our Savior Jesus Christ and develop a better relationship with our Heavenly Father through these things which can then better our life. So the meeting was awesome and just got my SO pumped! My comp did too…. and as we were there she just said so many good things, and really does all the things the mission pres was telling us to do- and I just was overwhelmed with this love and appreciation for my companion, and how lucky I am to have her. I have just learned the more you are grateful for the things in your life, the happier you are, and then you appreciate and even notice better and greater things about people and your life by doing this. It’s great! Especially after celebrating this wonderful holiday of thanks-back in the states- its SO important to live in thanks daily and in that attitude of gratitude-attitude is just SO crucial to how we experience things. If we have that positive energetic and happy attitude and outlook on things-we will appreciate love and be thankful for the things in our life so much more.

We also did a really cool finding activity this week where we gave 4 different members in the wards families like 5 Books of Mormon each and the marked them all up for us - these scriptures and sayings we asked them to do. Then we went around in each neighborhood and handed them out with the members just testifying of the power of this book and telling people it is a gift, and promising them if the read it they will feel the spirit. We told them about church and the time and everything. The cool thing is that a few elders have done this activity before and had tons of miracles and also this is how the mission president’s whole family converted! 2 missionaries came to the door one day and gave them the Book of Mormon, told them a little about it bore testimony and left. The whole family read it, prayed about it, and knew it was true and all got baptized! And look at what has happened to them now! I think we forget how much power the Book of Mormon has in converting and our mission is really trying to hand out more Books of Mormon and get them in peoples houses and people to read them. We are doing it again this week but we are marking all the scriptures about Christ and the doctrine of Christ! Last time we did the restoration. So we will see how that goes.

We found a girl this week named Claudia who’s family had met with missionaries like 12 years ago when she was little and she remembered them and all, but she was so young and didn’t know or understand much about the church. She had the Book of Mormon in her house after all those years -now she is married and has a family of her own- so we are really excited to teach her. We have hope- she is amazing! Also the next day during the finding activity we randomly knocked one door and it was the mom of Claudia! And she had the Book of Mormon too and we talked about it with her, and we really want to teach her as well!! It’s so crazy how we find these people that other missionaries before us have planted seeds for-people here have heard about the church or been taught once and then so many years later we show up! So we have hopes in this family!

We also are still working with Lucy and we just really need to get her to church!!! But I love her with all my heart and I have faith. She just has so many hard feelings and problems at home, and I know if she met the ward and walked in that church she would feel the contrast, and just desire that good and loving feeling always in the church and know it is the way to change her life and be happy! We also have another cute girl Melissa, who seems very positive and could progress! She is young, but married and has a little boy! There are so many options!!

The only thing it’s just sooo hard to find people to progress. We don’t even have any baptism dates because people are so lazy, and want to talk about Christ and faith and they feel its right, but they just have a hard time with the doing part of it, which is the most crucial part. But I have patience and I know things take time- but I have faith! I know we can see miracles here in Arroyito. We are just going to continue to work so soooo hard and do everything we can on our part, and I know that through our obedience hard work and love of the people and positive attitudes we will be blessed and we will see results.

I love the mission and I would have my life no other way right now than right here in Candyland hot crazy Arroyito with my cute little tiny ward and my comp. Life is beautiful and I truly do feel so blessed. Thank you all for your prayers and support. Know that I have such a strong testimony of this gospel and especially of my Savior Jesus Christ. He truly is the light and hope and true way in this world. Come unto Him and feel of his love. Develop a personal and lasting relationship with him and he will always be by your side. Remember what he has done for you personally and do all you can to strive to become more and more like him. In doing this I promise you that all of your life will be full of light, happiness, faith, joy and peace! Until next week! Miss you love you all Chaooooo!!!

Monday November 23rd…..

Wow!!! Hello friends and family! I cannot even believe I am getting to the end of my first transfer. Time flies!! So all is well here in lovely Candyland Arroyito!
So let me give you the DL on what it was like when I got here so you can all understand my situation well...

My companion has been serving here in this area for 7 months now so she has been here forever! Last transfer her companion was sick the whole time so they couldn’t even work at all for a whole month because they were in and out of the hospital. So when I got here she was just picking back up on the work and the ward is way small here, but good-really strong amazing members. But - since we have gotten back and are working...the ward got a little weaker and so we have building back those good relationships with the members with activities and recent converts to strengthen them AND at the same time working to find new people. And something else that is a little annoying is out of the whole mission we are an area that is really far and not close to anyone, so we are pretty much isolated when it comes to anything...like today pday. We can’t do much but just hang out here with ourselves because normally you do stuff with your district and fun things as a zone buttt we cant because ours are all so far from each other. It’s hard. So anyway that is a little background.

So with me just being new and not really knowing anything about the field, I am just curious, and always asking questions and commenting on what we are suppose to do, and my comp gets a little defensive, and lets just say our personalities kind of hit. At the end of this week I decided for the first time in my life that I never want to get married.....K well that is dramatic, but it just seems way too hard!!! I don’t know how you do it...it is still crazy for me to wake up everyday and remember that I am in this foreign country with this person I just met, and she is the only one I can communicate with.....sometimes it is hard, when you are mad or annoyed with your comp and all you want to do is vent to someone about it, but you can’t- because no one speaks your language. Something I have learned this week is it is not just Spanish I need to work on while I am on my mission……but is definitely patience, unconditional love, listening, being calm, humility......and so much more.

Sunday was just the worst for me and all these feelings just hit me all at once. I literally just wanted to cry or as someone would say just be over it...but let me just express to you how much stepping out of yourself and just listening and hearing other people will change you. I still will never forget the talk someone gave in the MTC about the secret to this life to being happy is to stop thinking about yourself all the time and think of others. Like I said last week, I am just so lucky to be surrounded by such awesome members in this area and their vibrant and powerful testimonies just radiate love and care to all, and really lift and inspire me. One of my favorite families in the ward-the Barbosas- ...Cynthia is the one that is super cute and my age and we get along SO well...their mom is deaf and has been since she was 8. She is a convert and has been a strong member her whole life. She has been through so much with her family and just with her condition- people treating her badly and being rude to her, and she is just such an incredible woman. In a class in church she spoke (she can speak pretty well just sounds a little funny and kind of can read peoples lips so can communicate) and was just so emotional and expressed how grateful she is for the gospel and the spirit and how without it she could never feel and understand so many things in her life. The spirit is the one language we all speak and through it, we are all in tune and love and feel for each other. She talked about how neat it is that we can be on missions and how jealous she was of us that we could do this in our lives because she could never and would just dream to do this work. I just cried as I watched this woman express such a tender and heart felt testimony because all this time- I have just been thinking of myself and how hard it is for me to not be able to speak Spanish and how I sometimes don’t get along with my comp and just little things that bug us, and make us just really focus on ourselves, but I just looked to this woman who has never even been able to hear the beautiful sound of a melody or hymn, or heard her children’s voices or can’t talk to other people without her daughter there to help her, and I was just completely humbled. All this time I was just SO focused on all the things that I was suffering with everyday, and how unhappy or bugged I was, but really I just have so much to be grateful for- and even though every moment is not perfect and we are always just wishing for the next best thing to come- or thinking of how great our past was, or what we miss or want to change....the moment is just as wonderful- and every day we are just as blessed, and we have so much to be thankful for.

Yes this has been such a hard week….. but I am just learning SO much it is incredible. My Spanish is progressing every day and we have some good investigators, even though both could not come to church this Sunday, because one got sick and one had to travel.....I was SO sad…..we are just still going to have the faith and work hard and be obedient and expect to see miracles. I gave a little lesson with some members the other day and I shared this scripture that I really like in D & C 123-17...that I got from my teacher in the MTC Hermana Lakip --she is the BEST!

“Therefore dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power and then may we stand still with the utmost assurance to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed.”

This is definitely a journey and a process- the mission- but I would have it no other way. I am trying to even figure out where I would ever learn all these things for my life that are crucial if I were not here. This is the time. I really do love missionary work and feel so blessed for this opportunity. I have one more week and then it is transfers, so be praying and we will see what lies ahead. I love you all soooo much and thank you for all your support and prayers. Chao!!!

I am sorry if this just sounded like a venting letter haha but I guess I needed it. Love you!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 4 - The work roles forward

November 15th, 2010

Hola friends and family! I do not even know where to begin- it has been the craziest week ever!!! First funny things...

So we went to this school performance thing for a girl in the ward and it was the craziest thing I have ever been to. There were tons of people crammed in this school and like people just cooking meat everywhere, and music blasting -it was CRAZY. But while we were waiting for the thing to start I was working on my Spanish with a member- who by the way is the cutest girl ever, (and she is my age)-and this little boy walked by and stopped and said with all this attitude-why is she repeating everything you are saying!!--....and Sylvia was like, “because she speaks English and is learning Spanish,” and the kids just freaked out and could not believe it and he asked me to speak English for him and I just said like one word and he like flipped! It was SO funny. Sylvia left for a second and I was just sitting there, and one by one all these kids kept running up to me, and the little kid would just point to me and tell them I spoke English and then I would say hi and they would all like scream and run away and come back –hahahah- it was the funniest thing ever. They were all making such a scene- it was nuts!

Also we all know I love animals-always have- and there are cats and dogs everywhere here like tons and when we always ride past them I will like whistle or bark just to freak my companion out because she hates animals. One night on our way home we passed this dog that looked harmless and right as I passed it I just whistled and my companion was a little behind me, and the dog started to FREAK out and started to chase and bark at my comp, like it was going to attack her-she was flipping and screaming and riding away SO fast and all these people in the streets were like laughing...it was sad but still super funny. Lets just say I do not communicate with the animals anymore in the street for my comps sake.

Also we went on this trip with the ward on Sunday to this conference and it was super fun! We took this huge bus all together and sang Christmas songs and ate food and the members drank mate’ and it was just a good time….loved it so much! But anyways, before we left we were at the church and my comp put in a cake in the oven so we could have it for the bus, but the bishop called us in for a chat after we put it in. Of course we end up going in there for like an hour and my comp forgot about it, and I kept trying to tell her about it but the convo was intense and she wasn’t listening to me. Finally after and hour...we come out and the WHOLE church is just smoked and owned and we run into the kitchen to find a black cake.....so much for being domestic yah....so we might have almost burned the new church down this week...it still smells like smoke.

So I don’t even know where to start- it has been the craziest week!!! One thing that was WAY sad is the lady that had cancer passed away. It was SO hard for the family because her son is a recent convert, and his dad passed away when he was eight, and now his mom so now he has no one. He is so tender. He has had a lot of the members support, and we have been visiting him a lot. The funeral was held at the church and the spirit was just so strong- my companion and I sang “Come Follow Me” -because it was Suzana’s favorite hymn. By the way mom I am so happy you told me that about what grandpa said about music. It is truly the way I have been able to communicate the best since I have been here. Since my comp and I both LOVE to sing we are always singing with everyone……in lessons, with new members, less actives- just always- it is truly such a powerful way to bring in the spirit and express the prayers in our hearts to our Heavenly Father. The song went really well and we also sang Abide With Me, Tis Even Tide, which has really become one of my favorite hymns. We sang it a lot when we would visit Suzana in the hospital, because it is such a comforting song and we also sang it at the end of the funeral service. The words are just so powerful in this song.

“Abide with me, tis eventide, thy walk today with me-has made my heart within me burn as I communed with thee- thy earnest words have filled my soul- and kept me near thy side--Oh Savior stay this night with me, behold tis eventide, Oh Savior stay this night with me – Abide with me, tis eventide and lone will be the night- if I cannot commune with thee, nor find in thee my light. The darkness of the world I fear would in my home abide- Oh Savior stay this night with me, behold tis eventide… Oh Savior stay this night with me- behold tis even tide.” This is such a consoling song.

So many people were there and just everyone was filled with the love of God and also for this wonderful woman and the life she lived. We all went to the grave and family members expressed their love for her and how wonderful she was and everyone in tears- her son asked to give a round of applause for his mother and for her life and everything she did- and everyone just clapped and it was so neat because normally funerals are so depressing and sad, and I really felt such a love and peace during this time and it was really a neat experience.

So we found an amazing family this week. The minute we talked to them in the street I just felt a love for them, and a connection, and I knew we were suppose to find them. The mothers name is Maria- just like the family in Guatemala and her son looks like and is the same age as Danny...crazy! So we have taught her a few times and the good news is she has a baptism date! Truly her life has been SO hard and she has been through so much. That first time we met with her she expressed her emotions and feelings about what she has been through and felt in her life that has been difficult and hard, and what she wants to change and she wants to improve it. Everything we taught her-each lesson and message about the gospel- we testified and promised her that this was the thing that could change her life. We told her that there was a reason we talked to her in the streets and we met for a reason and we promised that her family would be blessed through this gospel- it was so sad to just see her cry about her family and her kids and how sad she is about the path they could go down, and how sad that would be for her as a mother. She expressed her love for her kids and I just could feel how much she loves her children and wants them to have the best in this life. I seriously can’t even express how lucky we are to have parents…..to have those strong and loving examples in our lives. ….and that support. Parents sacrifice SO much for their kids and just want more than anything for them to be happy. I dont know why, but this experience just really made me appreciate and think about the roles of parents to their kids and how important it is we have that in our lives and how we need to be so loving respectful and close to our parents to receive that help and guidance in our lives- because they truly do just want us to be better and know our potential. I am SOOOO grateful we found Maria and I am so excited for her to get baptized! We also asked her daughter who is 13 to pray and read as well to know its true.

We were able to teach Lucy again this week……precious Lucy. What a sweet lady and every time we are with her I can just feel her being able to open up and trust us more. We talked about Christ with her this week and his role in our lives. She expressed some hard things she has gone through in her life that have just brought her so much pain and regret and heart ache. Even though most of the time I do not understand word for word when these people talk-there is one language we all speak and understand and that is the spirit- the ability to feel- and as she was just so open and telling us these things, I just felt so much love for her and Christ’s care and love for her as well. She told her she didn’t think she is able to be healed and overcome things. What a blessing it is we found her because we know that there is a way to be healed in this life. Through Christ and His Atonement and we promised Lucy that through coming unto him and trusting in him and having that sincere heart and faith it is possible. She was just so filled with love after we all talked and her countenance truly did change. She went from being so sad and low and down to lightening up and feeling that hope and inspiration and a desire in her heart to change and be healed…..it was amazing. How wonderful it is that there is a solution to the problems in this world - everything that has hurt us or upset or scared us or given us doubt or made us weak can be made right and literally heal our hearts through Jesus Christ and the Atonement. We shared with her a scripture in Ether 12:27 about how we are given weaknesses so that they can me made strong. I really am praying hard for Lucy and we are hoping we can set a date with her – it is just hard because her family is all WAY Catholic- so pray for her!

So it has definitely been a crazy long and good week. Sorry this letter is all over the place- SO much more truly has happened. I wish I could just express and share with you every detail! It is so funny to me because so many people say how it is a sacrifice to give up everything at home for a year and a half or two years to serve a mission, but I don’t think I could even begin to express in words how truly grateful I am and how blessed and lucky I feel to be here in this area on my mission--- surrounded by so many amazing people that have already uplifted and changed me for the better. I feel so much love and happiness everyday. The members here have already become my family. I truly want to tell you about them all - they have the most amazing and inspiring stories; they are all such pioneers I swear! I don’t have time today, but they seriously take such good care of me and have such strong testimonies. Well I truly just love my mission and I am learning how to just really enjoy every minute of every day - I hope everyone is doing the same and just are all so happy to be alive and just know you are all so blessed and have such amazing lives!!! I miss you and love you all- have a good week! Chaooooooooo

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

3rd Week in Argentina - Bike Wrecks

Monday November 8th

Friends and Family!

Wow time is crazy! HELLO! Family and Friends!!! So first I want to say some funny things that have gone down this week. First off my companion has like these weird night terrors -well mostly she is like scared of bugs crawling on her- and randomly in the night she like screams and sometimes its super scary- but one night she like sat up and screamed and threw a pillow at me and it was a super hot night- just ridiculous -and I just got SO freaked out and screamed too! We both always just end up laughing, but its something super funny. Also, I know how much I told everyone I hate ciestas here, but one day this week I was very thankful for ciesta and gave it some recognition. We ride bikes everywhere….and my companion is not the best at telling me the right directions, so I have gotten really close to getting hit by cars or running into people- yes typical awkward sitch that is me haha-but one day I literally was going up a small hill on my bike and toppled over, just so out of control and I fell everywhere in my little sister missionary outfit and scraped myself up and like made a scene-- but thankfully it was during ciesta! Haha….soooo needless to say, no one got to see this awkward situation since everyone was asleep - just my companion and we laughed about it like all day.

Also, I never thought I would be able to hear American Music again but apparently its super popular here, and one night we had a ward activity, which was a modesty fashion show. It was super cute and way fun- all the members like modeled clothes, and there was lights and a runway and pizza after -it was great! And they were like blasting Lady Gaga- Bad Romance- in the church- in the chapel for this fashion show! Hahah it was so funny….I was like WHAT?! Only in the mish does this happen- like dance party in the church with the members.... whattt.

So the other day I was zoning off while my comp was talking to some man in the street- typical A.D.D. me- and I saw this lady that was a riding a moped, while smoking a cigarette, while breast feeding a baby......I didn’t even feel bad just staring at her it was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. The people here are so funny! Oh and something random is that like everyone we meet tells me I look like Evan Essence and get all stoked- I still don’t know if that is good or bad, but apparently she is a big deal here -like people actually listen to her-and they love her-isn’t she like goth? Haha- cool.

So I also thought I would kind of give you all details of what its like here. It is spring going into summer time so its super hot- like death hot- I am just always sweating- but it is also stormy raining season so the weather is bipolar. Everyone just keeps saying this is nothing....the heat—really? I might die...also we like never eat- I swear there is no way anyone could get fat in this mission but people keep saying you do.. I don’t get it. We don’t eat breakfast- sometimes yogurt or fruit- we eat a huge lunch from the members like pasta and or bread or milenesas, (which is like a huge chicken nugget) like my dream- haha- and they have grilled chicken too. Not many options-all the food is like Italian here- its weird. And then we don’t eat dinner so we pretty much are always busy and don’t eat, which is way good. But I literally feel like all we do is bake. Oh my....I know we are sister missionaries, so that is expected, but we are baking things for people like everyday….it is nuts- never for us- we bake for people in the ward- members or inactives- for like activites or FHE- I am becoming so domestic- you would all be so impressed!

So a lot has gone down this week in Arroyito. First of all there are two people in our ward right now that are sick, so we have been spending a lot of time in the hospital. It is sad ☹ One is a little girl, Luz, who I LOVE- we are besty’s! She has a bad cough- but another lady is a grandma, and she has terminal cancer, so it is super sad. One night some members from the ward came in and gave her a blessing. The spirit was so strong we were all just in tears. There was a lot of the lady’s friends and family, so it was good because we all just felt the spirit so strong and all knew how much it was touching all our hearts. So hopefully that situation will get better.

We are teaching a family right now, Adreana and Mario with three little girls and this week we taught them the restoration. She was very open about it all, and seems interested and so we definitely have hope for them. They are just part of another church so that is the hard part. Pray for them. During the lesson, I always just pray SO hard to have the Holy Ghost and for my companion and I to say the right things, and the things they specifically need. I said the first vision in Spanish and just testified with as much power love and emotion that I had in me. As I said it I was just filled with the spirit and in my heart I just knew without a doubt that this church is true and that Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and Jesus Christ. After I was done I didn’t even remember what I said in my testimony, but I know that the Holy Ghost helped me say the correct things for this person and in the lesson. It was such a neat experience…….especially because a few days before this I was just so down, and not feeling like I could do much. The night before I had prayed so hard just pleading to my Father in Heaven that I am here ready to do his work- and I will do whatever it takes to be an instrument in his hands, and find and teach people that are ready for the gospel. I put all my faith in Him and just asked and wondered what I could do to be a better missionary. I promised I would work and study as hard as I could so I could receive His help. This week during all of our lessons I have felt his hand reach out and help me, and I am so grateful for prayer and the answers we are able to receive from our Father in Heaven. When we are going through hard times and we need his help and guidance, He is there. I was reading in the scriptures in Mark chapter 11: 22-24 and also in Matt chapter 17: 20 and both talked about how all things are possible we have the faith and believe in God, and just pray unto him with full purpose of heart.

We also found a lady this week named Lucy who is just so awesome. She is a bit older, and has such a hard life with things in her family and things she has gone through, but definitely has hope for things to get better. We taught her the plan of salvation, and as my companion taught her I just prayed so hard for her to say the right things just for Lucy that will help her. She had a hard time understanding what faith is to her, and we ran out of time, so we asked her to pray about things, and we would come back. I felt a strong impression to say something to her- I didn’t know what to say but I just had this burning and strong feeling in my heart, I needed to bare my testimony to her and just say as much as I could. I was nervous but I knew that the Holy Ghost was able to work with me, and I knew I would say the right things. I looked Lucy in the eyes and I just told her in broken Spanish that faith is the only reason I am able to be on my mission. I told her that it is scary being this age coming to Argentina, and not knowing the language at all, and having to leave my family. I told her that it has been hard- but I promised her that with faith in the Lord, we are able to overcome and do anything- and I told her that this is why I am here in Argentina-because of this gospel and this promising plan of happiness. I told her that this is what inspired me to come and teach other families about how it has blessed my family and changed me life-and I promised her that if she had the faith and prayed sincerely to God-she would receive an answer that the things we taught her were true- she will feel the Holy Ghost enter into her heart and confirm of its truth and she will know that this can change and bless her life. As I said these things, tears filled my eyes and I also had a picture of my family, so I was holding it up to her and showing her. As I spoke she just cried and cried, and so did my companion, and we were all just filled with the spirit.

I am so grateful for this amazing experience and I know that all these things are possible only through the power and inspiration of God-everything I have done and everything that happens in our life-anything that is of light love and good in our life that we experience is from God and I know this to be true, because I have personally felt and received my confirmation of it. I have looked and searched in this life through so many different paths looking for the things that can truly make me happy in my life and give me purpose- and I can promise each one of you-that it is only through our Savior Jesus Christ and following his example and living the ways of his gospel that we can feel and experience this most promising and fulfilling happiness. This is why I am here. So many people are suffering and no one is perfect, and things do get hard in this life…..but I know without a doubt in my mind that everything in this life that is unfair, hurtful, hard, challenging, sad, or difficult-can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and through the gospel. Everyone- I seriously love my mission. Every day is hard....not speaking the language, walking around in the heat, people and appointments falling through, missing home and my family, not understanding when people talk to me...but when I have these spiritual experiences, it is just another confirmation to me of my purpose and why I am here, and it just all becomes worth it.

I hope you are all just happy and being positive and loving the people in your lives, and through obeying the things you know to me true, you are finding this true happiness and witnessing those miracles and blessings in your homes and families, with friends and in school and work. Thank you so much for all your support and prayers and I love you all so much!


Hermana Pond

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2nd week in Cordoba, Argentina - President Andersen to dedicate the groudbreaking for the Cordoba Temple

Monday November 1st

Family and friends!

I cannot believe it is yet another P-day- crazy! Everything is really good here! Do not get me wrong- it is hard with the language barrier, and anyone who has served a mission can remember those first few weeks in the field is super challenging, because you can barely understand anyone, let alone know what to say. It is tough. But….I am just trying to be really positive about it and do the best that I can. Everyone just keeps saying it will come- just give it time- and so that is exactly what I am going to do.

So one thing that is REALLY hard, that a lot of people can relate to who have served missions in South America, is the ciestas! Really?! Who invented them -they are so annoying- haha. It is smack in the middle of the day, and because we are in a small town, literally everything shuts down here during the ciesta. Anytime we go to teach people in the afternoon kids will always say that their padres estan durmiendo….so we have to come back later…its great! Haha -so that gets a little tough but we still work and try our hardest.

This week we found an awesome new family to teach. It is a mom and dad and three little girls and they are all so cute. The parents are actually like preachers in a church in Cordoba so that makes the situation difficult but they are super nice and open-minded and were happy when we taught them. They have such intense faith and a good relationship with God- it is really good and they both know so much! They are so prepared and ready for the gospel. When we were teaching them I could just feel the spirit and I just know that this family had been prepared for the gospel and is ready to receive it! So hopefully we will be able to teach them again and set a baptism date. There are these two little kids we are trying to get baptism dates for but their mom is not a member and is having a hard time deciding if she wants them to, so we are really working with the mom and teaching her the importance of her kids getting baptized. The kids really want to and always go to church with their grandma, because she is super active, so we are really working with them too.

So this weekend we got to go to Cordoba on Friday night and have a sleepover with 6 hermanas, because on Saturday early morning was the ground breaking of the temple! It was so fun! I was able to meet all the other hermanas and bond. We made a FIRE and made smores and baked and just talked and it was super fun. We had all the mattresses out on the floor of this little poor apartment and we had to speak in Spanish because one sister was from Chile. I love when everyone speaks in Spanish because it really helps me to hear all of them and practice. They are all so good! Early Saturday morning we all went to this church in Cordoba and all the missionaries of Cordoba were there so like 200! It was crazy and Elder Anderson came with his wife and he spoke to all of us. We all got to get up one by one and shake his hand and introduce ourselves- it was a way neat experience. He is so awesome. He got up and spoke in Spanish to everyone. He served his mission in France and was a mission president in Brazil, so he doesn’t even know Spanish. He studied and learned it just so he could speak with us and he did so well! Right as he began to speak I was just so filled with the spirit and knew he was an apostle of God. He was so inspiring and so sincere. He talked a lot of Christ and how we need to center our teachings on Him and His life. He is our message and people need to come unto Him. He said it is so important that we study about Him and really get to know Him so we can teach with power. He talked about grace and how it is the enabling power of Christ, and when we love, work hard, and have faith we will receive the grace of Christ. He said that it is when we will rise above our own potential. It was awesome. At the end he spoke in English and just testified so powerfully of how much this temple means and what it is going to do for Cordoba. I just have never felt a spirit so strong as he spoke and it really got me stoked and inspired me in this work.

It is just a given- I will not be able to speak much right now in my mission and it is hard. I have days where I am just listening to my companion and people speak and it is hot, and the people are rejecting us and I am tired or hungry, and I just wonder why it is I am here and how on earth I can be useful at all if I cant even communicate with people. Something I have learned these 2 weeks in the mission field is humility and patience. I don’t think I have ever in my life desired so much to share the gospel with every soul I encounter, but I have not been able to do it because of this huge brick wall- this language barrier, and it just kills me. Be grateful everyone for the chances that you have daily to be able to speak to everyone and anyone about your beliefs. Don’t take that for granted. Even though I have had these feelings and have been overcome with sadness at times, I just recognize that this is a chance of growth and a learning opportunity. I just need to have faith and be humble and pray to Heavenly Father daily to help me. It is only through Him that I can do this. I look at all these missionaries that have been here for a year or so and as they just speak so well, with love, and teach this gospel. I just know that it is only through God that any of us are capable of doing this on our missions, and it is only if we come to Him in prayer and ask for the help in these things, that we can be given them.

I know that this will be hard. I have always known that, but I hope you all know that I am still so glad to be here. Every time we are allowed to go in someone’s home and we teach I just feel the spirit SO strong, and I am reminded of my purpose. This isn’t for me… it is for these people- I am not here just to learn some language or meet some cool people from a different country, but I am here to tell everyone and anyone about this life changing message that we have to share of Christ. That He lives and loves us, and that his organized church is on the earth today, and we have a living prophet on the Earth that guides us. We have the Atonement to cleanse us from our mistakes and problems, and we have the Book of Mormon. Thank you so much for all your support and prayers- I literally feel them daily. Times get hard but with all of your support and encouragement I am lifted up, and get to work.

Know that I am happy and learning. Know that there are people everywhere and they are placed in our paths-because we are God’s servants and members of the church-for a reason. Be aware of your purpose. Look around and wonder who it is that has been placed in your path today, and how you can help them. It is not just us in the mission field that can build up the Kingdom of God. Do all you can to be good examples and love all people. I love my mission and I love this work. I love all of you so much and miss you!!! Hope everyone had a good Halloween!!!!!!!!


Love Hermana Pond

Pics from the SLC airport - She looked great and was pumped up!

The boys miss Jami the most

Monday, October 25, 2010

First Day in Argentina

Mom and Family:

First, sorry this is so long! But it is necessary! Dad- thanks for all the music! You are awesome! Mom- thanks for the long amazing email !!! Everything sounds so perfect, and I am glad you are all happy. Tell Drew I seriously love him and that I am so stoked for him. Send me his email and I will write him before he goes. Will you write on the blog that people can now directly email me to this email address and it is probably the best way to communicate, so tell everyone! I will check into the mailing address and I am sure you can still use dearelder. I will let you know about that!

Hola familia y amigos!!! So I finally made it to Argentina and what a journey it has been! After leaving the MTC on Wednesday, we literally traveled for 2 straight days. It was intense. We went from SLC to Dallas, and then from Dallas to Buenos Aires (10 hour flight), and then we drove for 2 hours to another airport, and we were in that airport for about 4 hours, and then we flew to Cordoba and finally arrived! First of all it was crazy being in the real world again- like I am not even lying. I was so used to this protection and spiritual heaven in the MTC and it was weird to be around real people, and not have everyone be like you. SLC was fine because obviously everyone is Mormon and knows who we are, but when we were in the Dallas airport all the elders and myself were on a train, and all these people were looking at us funny and some people even laughed it was just GREAT! haha I just smile all the time. We need to represent our message by how we act talk even how we stand and our body language, so I just really made sure I was so happy and smiling, and talking to everyone. We talked to a guy on the plane and that was neat. I also got to talk to someone when I flew to Cordoba and it was just a way awesome experience and got me SO excited to contact and just talk to all people!

When we got into the area the mission pres, his wife, and the assistants were all awaiting us, and were SO nice and loving and we took pics and drove to the mission home. We chatted it up on the way and just being with them for like 2 seconds I knew I loved them. They are just so positive and funny and loving, and are just the best! So we got the mission home, which is super nice, and we had interviews and all that fun stuff. The president just told me I was put in the BEST area ever with the BEST sister so of course I was just super stoked and so happy!! We got to bond with office elders and hear about the mission and got a little training. It was late by this time so we all got fed my favorite- lomitos and fries and soda- and then the elders left to stay at a hotel for the night and I got to sleep in the glam mission home. After they all left I just bonded with the mission pres family and chatted about life and the mission and they are all SO great!! They already feel like family-they do so much for all us. I got to talk in Spanish because most the family doesn’t speak English so it was good practice, and right before bed I was talking to the wife- just me and her- and she was just so tender and she gave me good advice! I was like crying, just because I was so happy to be there and just felt so good about everything- it was good!

So the next day I woke up and showered (which was so needed haha after so much traveling) and then I studied forever, which of course was so good, and then in the afternoon all these people came to the church and we all met and had lunch-Empenadas so good- and then we were to get assigned to our new comps. Right when I saw all the sisters I was just so pumped. The mission pres said the sisters are SO awesome and such hard workers in the mission!!! I knew I would love everyone. Right when I saw my companion I just loved her. She is just so full of light and bright and happy and everyone loves her! She is short, with blue eyes blond hair from Utah. She is so happy and positive, which is great! We just clicked right away, and I knew that we were so inspired to be together and would do so well working together. So after all this we drove to the bus station and then went to our area.

So can I please just say I am blessed-truly-its not even fair...first of all I get the best companion ever and then I got assigned to the area that is the “candy capital” of Argentina, and everyone calls it Disneyland---DREAM COME TRUE! The town is SO small and cute and it always smells like candy, because our apt is right next to the factory. Our apartment is interesting...cute and small -haha and pink. The top floor, and a little poor....but good! Our shower is ridiculous- no door....just like a shower head by the toilet so water gets everywhere, but its great –whatevs… an adventure!!! Our neighbors are members so its super safe. The area right now has perfect weather so sunny and warm and breezy. It kind of looks like California, Mexico, Arizona mix...haha- random but its great. There are tons of cute small shops and colored houses….like I said-a dream come true area. And everyone is right these people do sing when they talk and I love it-its super pretty. Oh and we get to ride bikes!!! This is the only area in the whole mission that is allowed to ride bikes- so life is just really good.

So the first night after we dropped off my stuff we had a cita (appointment) haha perfect right? I asked what we were teaching and my comp said we are teaching her the third lesson- mostly and we are going to ask her to be baptized....WHAT. hahah -I was so nervous, but I knew that everything would be great, and I just needed to be strong, believe in myself, and have faith. We did some contacts on the way. The cita was awesome, and even though I could not understand too much and I didn’t say much.....the spirit was way strong, and I loved every second. My companion is such a good teacher!!! So my first day was good. These past few days have just been crazy busy….running around contacting, having appointments, lessons, lunches with members, and so much.

Every single person I have met here I LOVE!!! Like I just instantly click with all of them and love them. I just know that God loves every single one of the people I meet and I talk to and I know that he is preparing them. I always picture people dressed in white when we are teaching or with them, and I always feel their beautiful spirits and how they have so much potential in store for them in their lives.

So Sunday it rained, so not many people went to church. Apparently there is suppose to be like 200 members here, but like only 20 people go ☹ -its sad- but the members are golden and get so involved and help us out so much to get people active again…..its great. But I got to bear testimony in church and it was good. Me and my comp got Raul and Lucas to come to church, which was a miracle because they haven’t been going -they are 19 and 24….cute guys. They have quite the stories- well everyone does here- but it is way good that they are coming back to church!

Last night we went to choir, and let me tell you- it was honestly like the little choir in the movie “Errand of Angels.” When they have choir and there are like 3 people there- hahaha its crazy. It was me, my companion, these 2 investigators, and this family- like 7 people- no joke. But it was good- we are singing a way pretty song in church sometime soon. After choir we had a cita with the investigators that came to choir and they are great. They have been investigating forever, and they are just super young and dating and its hard- they know its true and both want to be baptized, but they are living together so its complicated...but the lesson last night went awesome. We also had a member with us to help talk to them and encourage them.

Its super hard since I have been out here, because I understand mostly everything people say, but I just can’t say much and it is all just so new. I am learning and getting comfortable with the ways, but its just challenging because I feel like I can’t do much. I don’t know the area or anyone really quite yet, and the language obviously will take time and I know I need to be patient. Patience is key and I am definitely working on that...but I don’t let my trials or discouragement hold me back from seeing miracles and feeling the spirit and participating in the work.

The lesson we gave last night was just SO powerful and the things my companion and the member were saying were SO INSPIRED and just what they both needed. The room was literally so full of light and joy and the spirit was touching each of our hearts personally. After we talked to them, we knelt in prayer and the guy- Mateos- said the prayer, and my companion said that after we all had the prayer to just keep our eyes closed and to be reverent and still, and listen for answers. I LOVE THAT. So many times we rush and pray and pray and pray and ask for things, but what we don’t do is WAIT. We don’t have that patience and that calmness to just listen. In order for us to be given direction from the heavens in our lives, we do not just need to pray a lot, but we need to be WILLING to be still. Just like it says in the scriptures- and hear the things that we need to hear, go the places we need to go, make the changes that will better our lives, and to truly feel and understand the spirit and clearly find the things for us. I was just overwhelmed and filled with so much love and light, and the spirit, that is was intense. Everyone knew too that I cannot understand much, but I truly heard every word of this beautiful lesson and I was so grateful for this spiritual experience and everyone just knew- we all just were on the same page and felt the same thing- it was GREAT.

So today was Pday! We went and bought groceries, and cleaned and went to San Fran!!! We took a bus and rode to this area to visit it and play soccer with the elders. It is the cutest place ever!! Its more of a city but with cobblestone streets and cute buildings. We had really good ice cream and played soccer at the church it was super fun! K I know everyone knows I don’t do sports- hahah- so when I say I played I mostly just rolled up my sleeves and hoped to catch some color outside, because I am so pale!!! Shoot!

OK -Well family and friends- know that I am SO happy and just loving every minute of every day of my mission. I literally have been feeling the influence of all your prayers in my life, so thank you SO much!! Your prayers for me strengthen me and give me the courage to be bold, happy, and work hard! Everything that has happened and I have experienced has been such a blessing! I feel so truly lucky. There is no where else I would rather be. The mission is AWESOME. Know that I am safe, working hard, seeing miracles, loving the people and culture, and inviting others to come unto Christ.


Hermana Pond

Saturday, October 16, 2010

P-Day Pics Provo Temple Grounds

I so much appreciate everybody's letters, they mean so much and i feel your support. We are so busy in here that it is difficult to respond to all but know that i am thinking of you and you are in my prayers. I wanted to do a special call out to my brother Nick who wrote me a very inspirational letter this week thanks all!

Here are the latest pics, know that i am happy and loving the MTC. I am really excited to hit the field this week (Oct 20th) in Argentina. When you wake up on Thursday morning in the US and feel the earth shake it is me down in South America getting busy!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

This Week I Leave the MTC


Thank you soooo much mom and dad for all the dearelders and packages. I am obsessed- you guys are so deep and I love your advice and spiritual counsel- it is so tender. Mom I am so sorry to hear about Allison- I just cried so hard about it, and tell her that her family is in my prayers.

So this week in the MTC has been great! As we all know I am now leaving the MTC a week early, so you can imagine when everyone found out all the elders were just so excited and freaking out, and I was like crying haha because I love this place and don’t want to leave. Everyone makes fun of me but I don’t want to leave my companions I love them so much. But I know everything happens for a reason so I am having a positive attitude about it all, and just getting excited to go.

About a day after I found out I was leaving early I just had this huge wave of emotions of fear, doubt, anxiety and nerves, and missing home- and it was really hard because I have not really felt that here yet, and I didn’t really know how to handle it. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, and I just told everyone I was sick and didn’t feel good and just stayed quiet. My hermanas left me for a bit and I had to go with the elders to this meeting for leaving for Argentina, and right before it started, I just ran out of the room and found and empty room close by and just fell to the floor crying. I had no idea what was wrong, but all I felt was emptiness and alone and I wondered if I could do this. I knew it was the adversary working on me, because I was getting so close to leaving, and so all I knew I could do was get on my knees and pray with all of the energy I had in my heart. I just pleaded to my Heavenly Father to help me rise from this hard time and these feelings, and to have my angels come and help me and lift me and to have Christ in my life and by my side and to give me strength. After I prayed I just felt so much peace and love and I just knew I would be okay. I needed my family and friends at this time because I miss and love you all so much, but I knew that the only one who could truly help me was my Savior and I knew he would carry me away from this hard time.

Later in class after I was feeling a lot better, our teacher out of no where just felt inspired to talk about this: We need to remind those that we teach that whatever good things and feelings they have felt in their life about the gospel is of light and comes from God - and any kind of feelings of doubt or regret or fear come from Satan, and we need to help them recognize and stay in that light always, and keep going forward with faith and believe in themselves. This made me think of my situation and I knew that I had felt so much light desire and purpose coming here, and I knew that I was doing the right thing. So with those feelings I knew they came from God and if that got me here, those feelings can also go with me to Argentina. We then watched a beautiful movie in Spanish about having faith in Christ and it really inspired me, and made me excited to speak Spanish and be in Argentina and tell people about this wonderful Savior of ours who is awaiting to lift our burdens and sorrows and help us heal through hard times in our life.

We also had the opportunity to practice teaching a lesson in Spanish only on the Savior and as I taught I just really focused on making the message so real and sincere and I thought of what I experienced earlier that day, and in doing so I was able to testify and teach of Christ with such truth and power. I am so excited to go out in the field, and I know that this is the time that Cordoba needs me, and even if I feel that I am not prepared or need more time, I know that if I just have confidence and faith when going out there just knowing I will have positive and amazing experiences-then I will be guided and taken care of. Why fear? Why do we ever discourage ourselves when we have so much potential and God is just waiting for us to awaken to our spiritual selves and continue changing our lives. No matter what happens my first month in the field I know that everything is inspired and that even if I have hard or awkward or scary experiences out there, I can handle them with a spirit of peace and know that no matter what, I am there to do the Lords work and I will be able to accomplish it with him by my side and with the Holy Ghost in my heart.

Some scriptures I really like about comfort hope and faith are: 2 Nephi 31:20 John 14:14-27 and my personal favorite Enos 1:4-5

On Sunday we had a really good lesson about patience and choosing to serve this day. We watched the Mormon Message (which everyone should watch it is so good!) by Uchtdorf about patience, and the experiment about marshmallows. We all talked about how in life there are things (marshmallows) that we are promised if we just wait it out and take the time and in doing this, we will be given the marshmallows as a reward, but it is only if we wait and have that patience that we will be given it. We talked about learning Spanish, and so many things in life that we want so bad to have, but we know it will take time to get. We discussed how it is important to just trust and know that we will eventually receive the reward but in the time we are awaiting for it, we MUST use it wisely and do the things that we know we are suppose to do before we are given the end result. We are all searching for so many answers and decisions and things in our life all the time and it is human nature to just want it right away, and be given everything we desire but what we must understand is that in the Lord’s time we will be rewarded, and if we just do what we are suppose to such as keep the commandments, serve others, work diligently, be patient, have faith and love, and wait it out with a humble heart, we will be given those things we deserve and the Lord will just bless our lives immensely. D & C 123:12-17

We also watched the mormon message called, Choose Ye This Day (watch it - its my favorite one!) by Eyring, and it honestly brings me to tears every time I watch it. Every single day when we wake up we should be asking the Lord what we can do in our lives to serve him, and who we are suppose to help or love or be guided to that specific day. Never lose any opportunity and do not procrastinate your days of service because you never know when it will be too late. Love and appreciate each moment of each day and know that it is not tomorrow or in the future we will change our lives and better ourselves, but choose THIS day right now whom you will serve, and do it with a gladness and thankful heart and in doing so we are able to feel of God’s love for us and better understand ourselves and the purpose to our lives.

So I cannot believe I leave in a week for Argentina!! It honestly feels like I just got here. Time is such a precious thing and that is something I have really learned about since being here. Do not waste time and enjoy every single moment of your life. I have loved the MTC and I am sad to leave it, but I know that so much awaits me in Cordoba, and I cannot wait to get out there and begin this marvelous work. I love you all and I am praying for you! Send all the letters you can this week before I leave the country!! :) Adiooossss Te Amo :)

Hermana Pond