- Jami Pond
- 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.
Monday, July 19, 2010
I cannot believe our second week in Guatemala is over. It has been on of the most amazing and fastest weeks ever. Each day we continued to go to the orphanage and it was so good that we were there so much so we could develop relationships with the kids and have them remember us personally. Even though none of us spoke Spanish and the kids knew no English, in some way we could all communicate and understand each other. I loved when these kids would just hug you and sit on your laps, speaking super fast Spanish to you and you just laughing and saying "Si". On our last few days at the orphanage, we ate there with the kids and stayed all day so we could be with them in school and in the afternoon for play time. All us girls brought a lot of toys and donations for the kids that we were able to deliver personally to them the last day. It was fun to see their faces when we would even just give them candy or stickers or balls and they would be just so happy! I brought a bunch of balls the last day and when I handed them out the kids were just going crazy. It has been so neat to be staying in a small city because just after two weeks, we have all got so comfortable about the area and feel like we know everyone! One experience that was really neat was we took all these kids that worked in the park to mcdonalds for lunch one day. We got them all happy meals and they played in the play ground and I have never seen happier little children. I think being little kids in poverty in Guatemala that have to constantly work, they never really get a chance to be kids and have too much fun. I will never forget their bright and shining smiles in that moment. Since I had signed up for this program and we had made it official we were going to Guatemala, I knew that there was a specific reason we picked this country and I knew there were certain people we were suppose to meet. Coming to the end of this trip I have found those people I was sent personally to meet and I have never been so spiritually impacted and influenced in my life. When I first met this cute family in the park, I did not think much of it and just said hi to them a few times. Every time we would pass through central park where they worked, I would get this strong impression to be with and help this one specific family. The mother Maria, her son Danny, and her two younger daughters, just had the most clear and most vibrant light about them that made me feel such a connection to them and desire to help. The second time we saw them, I spent about an hour just running around the park with her son and goofing off. We invited her to church every day we saw her but I was never sure if she would actually come. The third time We went back to see them, we made sure we brought a Spanish book of Mormon so we could give it to her as a gift. It was really neat because my friend Shelby came prepared with her testimony in Spanish written in the book so she could give it out to someone and she knew it was just for them. When we handed it to her, we tried with broken spanish to tell her how much it meant to our church this book and if she read and prayed about it, it would bring her and her family much happiness. I was so sad to leave this family each day and I would just think about them in the night, hoping we had a little impact on them and hoping she would read the book. When Sunday morning came I was just so confident and knew that Maria would come to church even though she lived very far and had to walk and it was very early in the morning. As 9 finally came and I was awaiting anxiously in the park, there was no sign of Maria and her family which was very disheartening. All the girls I was with kept saying they needed to be on time to church but I just kept getting the feeling that they would come, so I told the girls to go and I would wait a little longer. I sat there in the park wondering how Maria was feeling about everything we had told her and wondered her thoughts about us and the church. I prayed that she would be open to it and understand why the other 8 girls and myself had such a powerful and strong testimony of it. I was just pacing back and forth in the park and kept looking at the time wondering if this is how missionaries feel every Sunday waiting for investigators to show up. It was very anticipating! Finally, I turned around and to my surprise I see a little girl with pig tails hobbling down the side walk with one hand in her mothers and my precious 6 year old Danny running to me. I had never felt so much joy and relief in my life to see this family approaching me in the distance. I scooped up Danny in my arms and felt a few tears run down my face just knowing that this child and his family and come. I walked hand in hand with this cute little boy and we all just came in church in the front row all together. All throughout the meeting I just prayed that this family would feel the strong spirit that I was feeling in the moment and would want to know more about it. After church, the missionaries got their number and we left. I took the whole family to this really nice restaurant and the kids got to play in the play ground and I hung out with Maria. Later, I got pictures developed of Maria's kids and I, and I wrote messages to them in spanish that I would miss them and be praying for them always. When I gave them to Maria, she was just so grateful and her eyes filled up with tears. It was one of the hardest things saying goodbye to this beautiful and wonderful family I had met, but I know they will be protected and filled with God's love for them as I prayed and thought about them from that day on. I am not sure if Maria read the book of Mormon and I am not sure if they will ever go to church again but what I do know is that I was guided to this certain family by the holy spirit to bring them the knowledge of the gospel and to shower them with Christ's perfect love and light. I will never forget this amazing adventure to Guatemala that I have had in my life and will never forget the people I met and the feelings I have felt. This trip has only been a small glimpse of what my mission will be like and I look forward to having these types of experiences daily when I am in Argentina. I have never felt such truth and fullness for anything in my life than the knowledge I have for this gospel and the feelings it brings me. I hope to bring it to as many people as I can, not only on my mission, but throughout my whole life because I know that if I listen to the promptings of the spirit and am constantly full of love, I will meet people and be places that will change me forever.