About Me

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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, 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