- 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.
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!!