- 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.
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