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.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 17, 2011

Family and Friends!!!

Where do I even begin - so much has gone down this week, and I know I always say that, but really!!

First I want to thank everyone that emails me, and KNOW that I am getting them and reading them, and I am sorry I cannot send personal emails to everyone, but they seriously do help me so much - keep them coming!!!

So first the funny things this week - I am over all the animals here - normally I LOVE them, but the other day we were visiting a family and I went to go put a note on their door, and their little rat creepy dog almost bit me, and was like chasing me and showing me his teeth. I literally almost started crying it was scary –haha. We laughed after though – that’s what I get for always messing with all of the dogs. Also we had our English class in the church this week, and we decided to start outside and we taught the kids head shoulders knees and toes in English, and we looked like such fools out there- haha like singing and doing the actions everyone that walked by was laughing- it was great.

So the week was a little better with our investigators. We got to teach them a lot more, but still they all fail at coming to church. We finally had to drop Claudia and Juan because their mom freaked out one day and Claudia just said that she needs time. It was SO sad and soooo hard because we had been working so long and hard with them but I am still hoping and praying that in the future they will be able to get baptized. As we left I was just so down, but then we went to a new converts house and when we shared a scripture with her, it really ended up helping me. It is in D & C 58 2-5 - it talks about how if we are patient in our tribulations and faithful till the end, our reward is so much greater in heaven. In the moment right now it is hard to see the eternal outcome of things, but if we just pull through and get through it all we will be blessed. It helped me so much and just really reminded me that it doesn’t matter, and even though its sad and its hard - God knows what is going to happen and if I just have trust in him and I am patient with time - I will see the rewards later and be blessed.

The next day we fasted as a companionship to find new investigators and to be more guided by the spirit and to know what to do with our current investigators. It was honestly such a neat experience…..so spiritual. It is so amazing how powerful prayer and fasting is! We were led and found tons of new people to teach and we felt really good about it. We are working with the nieces and nephews of a recent convert and they are great. We are also teaching a member’s daughter who was investigating a long time ago but wants to get back into it.

The day we were fasting we were walking in the streets on our way home to go break our fast and I walked by this kid that looked familiar and he waved, so I walked up to him and asked if his mom was home and if we could talk to her. Nice! She came out and was soooo cute and she was so positive and we found out her mom had met with the missionaries before, and also one of the inactive members of the Brito family - Kuki-who is 17- is friends with her son, so she knows a little about the church. She accepted that we come and teach her the next day. We felt so good about her. The next night we went to their house and they were all there together-Carolina, her mom, her husband, and her kids. We started to talk and teach them and at the beginning, my companion seemed flustered and was not sure what to teach and was all over the place. I just kept praying and wondering what we could do. She was teaching the plan of salvation but I just felt we needed to slow down and ask more questions. We started to ask questions and it really helped us understand them more and got them involved. I kept feeling prompted like I needed to say something and share an experience- and I honestly can’t even tell you what I said but the spirit was so strong, and the mom Carolina was just crying and they were all just smiling, and it truly was such a neat experience that I will never forget.

Then it gets better - later that night we passed by to pick them up because there was an activity in the church - the church building has been in Arroyito now for a year! YAY - and when we showed up to get them, the whole family was all cute and ready and excited to go! We all walked and went together, and even better, Kuki the inactive boy came and brought his girlfriend. It was truly a week of tender mercies and little miracles.

The activity was great with a lot of members, inactives, and investigators. We ate and the showed a video of the memories of all the members in the ward the past few years. A lot of people got up and bore such tender testimonies about their stories and how happy they are to finally have a church building to go to in Arroyito, because before it was in a random house. Gisela got up and talked about how it was her dream every since she was a member to get a church in Arroyito, and she would pray for it every day and when she went on a mission she prayed for that and they built it while she was gone, and she was sooo happy when she got back and felt it was such a blessing from the Lord.

After we left and we found out about transfers, and guess what.....I LEFT Arroyito! I was honestly sooooo sad, and crying so hard and just didn’t want to leave my new home and my comp that I was best friends with, but I knew it is what the Lord wants so I am being more positive about it….. and of course I am going to BELLVILLE....with the Latina from Chile! Sooooo nervous, but I know it will be good - I will definitely learn Spanish wayyyyy faster. So Sunday I gave a heart felt and teary testimony and it was just so sad to look at all the members who just made my whole experience so far, and say goodbye, but it went okay, and it was a good meeting. The ward had a surprise going away party for me in the church that night with food, and all the members came and they all got up and gave me advice and thanked me, and it was such a good night that I will never forget! I love Candyland Arroyito, but I am excited for this new beginning in beautiful Bellville, with new people and my Latina comp - I think it will be really good.

So wish me luck!!!! Just know I can feel your love, support, and prayers lifting me up and inspiring me everyday!!! You are all the best!!! Never forget that you are loved by a Father in Heaven, and with Him in your lives, like it says in Matt 19:26, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. I know this is true everyday of my mission because without his help - this work would not be possible. I love you all! Have a good week!!! Besitooossss Chauuuuuu Nos Vemossssss

Love Hermana Pond

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 15th - Hermana Pond & Brown

January 10th 2011

First want to start off this email with an apology...

So never in my life have I ever felt so much love and respect for leaders in the church and for EVERYTHING they do for the ward and all the things and activities they organize just for us. I apologize to every leader I have had in my life in the church for not showing up to those cute and fun activities you planned for weeks on end and spent money, and I either forgot or just didn’t have time to go, or just didn’t care. I am sorry for being such a diva and I hope I can be forgiven.....haha—(you know what’s coming next) –BECAUSE, since I have been out here in the mission we try to plan SO many things - like English or music classes - to get members and in-actives or investigators to, and we spend so much time making and passing out fliers, baking or making food for it, and what do you know the day rolls around and guess what---EVERYONE is too busy or forgets, or just doesn’t care to come and I sit there with my companion in the empty church with our treats we made, and our stuff all set up, just wondering-do people really have better things to do - do people really not care? Is it that hard to remember or attempt to come? So to all you leaders out there - THANK YOU for all you do! Keep it up! And to everyone who is contemplating whether they should go to those things or not - just picture me literally laying on the church ground eating all the cookies I made for the activity with a bitter look on my face - just go...it will be worth it!

Wow...I feel like I just wrote since these past few weeks have been weird with intercambios and everything……but there is always a lot to tell! All is well! I am back in my lovely area Arroyito, and things are OK, not great. When I was gone for a few days it was really hard being away from my companion, my area, and away from the investigators - it was hard not knowing what was going on with everything and knowing that all I could do was hope and pray was tough. But once I got back we just got working hard and visiting all of our investigators. I am not going to lie these past few days have been really rough - it seems that every single one of our investigators we have been working sooo hard with this whole tranfer are allllll backing out or can’t get baptized for different reasons....like really?...all of them?! And of course we have to go from house to house all in one day and be rejected by each individual one. I would just look at them and wonder how - how it is they can feel the spirit so strong, and know something is true, and then want to reject it or back out or want more time. I knew the mission would be hard and I knew that things take time, but this really was a moment of a trial of my faith like it talks about in Ether 12:6. “And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because you see not, for you receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.” So many times we just want instant results or things to just happen when WE want them to - but I have realized that so much in life we really need to just trust in the Lord, have patience and faith, and know that all things are in His time, and will work out in the end -like in D & C 121:7-8 – “My son, peace be unto your soul; your adversity and your afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if you endure it well, God shall exalt you on high; you shall triumph over all of your foes.” We just can’t give up.

Oh believe me - did I want to give up this day - and even worse so did my companion. We were just so frustrated, and almost mad about our investigators, and couldn’t understand why this was happening. We went to our apartment to get something before our next lesson, and we knelt down to pray, and my companion asked me to say it. I literally fell to the ground……because I was so hot and just physically and emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed. I began to say the prayer - and just right away I felt so much love my Heavenly Father. I asked him for his help, light, love, guidance and strength……and I felt Him comfort us and my heart was softened. I thanked him for our Savior Jesus Christ, and right when I began to talk about him I just began to cry, because I knew that He was with me, and He knew how I was feeling in that very moment - because he suffered these pains and trials and hard times just for me, and knows what it is like to be rejected. After the prayer I just felt so much love and gratitude - because although I knew this work is hard - and these people and investigators will be tough- I knew Christ would help me and be with me through it all because I am his representative, and He wants his light to shine to all and to help all the people of this area hear the gospel and accept Him. It’s just through time faith and patience and hope that I will be able find those people that are prepared.

After we went to Lucy and taught her, and of course she was having problems with her son and needed some help……and I talked about how I cannot even imagine what it is like being a parent. It takes so much faith in Heavenly Father and time and patience and help from Him to help families and kids. But I told her about my life, and my parents, and I just testified that through all of her prayers and faith and love for her kids, and just by her example her kids will make it through and will grow up and mature and change. I said that if my parents would have given up on me in those hard times and trials in my life, I wouldn’t be here today - but it is because of them I am here! And it is because of them that I have the testimony I have and know my purpose in life and have changed! I just said – don’t give up - with God-all things are possible.

Truly the mission gives you a little glimpse and tiny experience of what it’s like to be a parent. Every night I am just on my knees pleading and praying sooooo hard for these people - for our investigators and inactives, and sometimes its just so discouraging and disappointing when they don’t do what you know will make them happy. I just think of all the parents our there - more importantly our Father in Heaven - and they just love us sooo sooo much, and want the best for us, but sometimes in life we don’t do the smallest or simplest things - and why not…….we want to be happy, and we know what we need to do, so why is it so hard to do things that bring us, our parents and more importantly ourselves happiness? It is so important to remember how blessed we are to have a Father in Heaven that loves us soooo much and wants us to be happy, and wants us to follow Him! We have loving parents - they truly just want the best for us and would do anything for us to just make the right choices and be happy.

This mission is changing me every single day. I am always learning and growing as a missionary, and I truly am sooooo happy to be able to be here sharing the gospel. The mission is so hard and difficult at times…. but every single moment is worth it! I love and miss you all! Thanks for all your support and prayers and love! This is the last week before tranfers – I hope I am staying – I will let you know what happens in a week!!!

Besitoooooossss Nos Vemossss
Love, Hermana Pond

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Let's get a new YEAR started here! January 7th, 2011

Friday January 7th


I am sorry our schedules have been off since the holidays with our p-days, but starting next Monday it is back to normal so I will then be writing every Monday!! Where do I start?! I feel like I just wrote, but there is always so much to talk about!

I want to mention quite a little miracle we had last week in Arroyito. Remember the crazy Jehovah’s Witness that dresses funny and put underwear on her head? Well over time since we have been visiting Claudia and Juan’s house, Maria is always there and has really warmed up to us. At first it was sooo hard to try and be loving and nice to her when she was just yelling at us and saying crazy things. Truly, I wanted to make fun of her, because she was so out of control, but we got used to being really patient with her and working better with her around. It is actually sad, because she is kind of homeless, and just always goes to this house because she knows the grandma there but no one really likes her, and everyone is always yelling at her and making fun of her. One day one of the kids was teasing her and threw water all over her - I actually felt so bad for this woman, and wanted to cry - precious little homeless crazy thing. Every day we go to the house we always make sure we go and talk to her, and kiss her cheek and ask her about her life, and how she is doing.

One day we were teaching Juan and Claudia, and she called me over to sit by her under a tree. She asked me if she could come to church with us on Sunday, and what time it is at - she was nervous to ask because she wasn’t sure if she was allowed, and she said she really wanted to try it out. At the end of the lesson she was by us, and kind of got to listen to it all, and we asked her to pray - in her prayer she thanked God for sending us to her to help her change her life and hope she can change - it was seriously such a tender moment and small miracle of the week because someone who we had so many problems with - her heart has softened and through just showing her some love and talking to her, she has changed and has a lot of respect for us.

Another cool thing that I forgot to mention was our p-day last week in Villa Maria with our zone. We got to PAINTBALL!!! It was honestly sooooo much fun. We all went out by the river in these trees and had teams, and were just running around and shooting each other-haha- it was great- definitely the best p-day yet. I love our zone so much - we all bond!!

As you all know these past few days has been intercambios, which is where we switch companions and areas for a few days. I went to Bellville with the girl from Chile, who is way new in the mission also. At first, I was a little nervous because she doesn’t speak English, but it honestly went so well and was such a good experience! I love Bellville, and the ward! I want to go there someday - maybe in a few transfers! But it was truly a miracle I am really understanding soooo much Spanish, and was teaching in the lessons too! Me and Hermana Arbarsura got along so well and we were able to communicate fine. First of all I love the apartment in Bellville! It is sooooo much nicer than the one in cute Arroyito - this one is sooooo much bigger, and has a glam nicer shower, and they had EFY music that we would play every second, I was in heaven!

One person I LOVED in Bellville was an older man that is 77 and he is a recent convert named Teofilo - he is honestly the cutest thing I have ever seen! Whenever he talks I just want to cry he is soooo tender - bless his little soul. He has never been married or had kids and is very much alone-his dog just died, and his brother recently died, so he has been sooo sad these past few weeks. One day when we past by his house and surprised him with a little party – we brought all this food and we brought a member with us, and he was just sooo happy! Cute little thing. I taught the whole lesson to him too, and read out of D and C 121: 7-8, and talked about how times are hard, and we will be sad, but the Lord is with us and will give us peace and light, and help in time. “My son, peace be unto thy soul; your adversity and your afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if you endure it well, God will exalt you on high; you will triumph over all of your foes.” It was a good message for him and he was soooo happy and we just bonded!!
We also found a lady one day filling up water, and we were just walking in the street with a member, and he looked at me like - go talk to her! So we both went up to her, because my comp was busy talking to someone else, and we contacted her and she invited us over to her house! She is so cute! Her name is Christina and she and her family are from Bolivia, and came here for work. They are honestly the cutest most humble people ever, and loved listening to us and were just beaming! The next day we came back and found them all together, including her boyfriend who had been at work the day before (they need to get married!). We found out that in Bolivia his uncle is a member of the church and he had been to church a few times and liked it, and had always been interested but then moved to Argentina...miracle!! It was so neat - he had sooo many questions and was just so interested in bettering his life and helping his family! We talked about the temple and how they could go someday as a family, and we talked about baptism and they accepted!!! Butttttttt the only problem is they are not married....and they are not from Argentina, so I am not sure how they are going to do it, but we have faith and really want to work with them……well one day I want to come back and serve in Belleville, and I told them I would come and visit and work with them! It was such an awesome experience, and when we talked about eternal families the spirit was sooo strong.

So the changes were only a few days but SO worth it! I am so grateful I got to work in Belleville and get to know a new area, and work with a different comp for a few days - it defffff helped my Spanish!

Today we came to Villa Maria, with our whole zone and we all had a meeting together, and then a HUGE Asado (BBQ) after - it was way fun! The meeting was so spiritual - our zone leader is ending his mission in 2 weeks! So this was like a little goodbye get-together as a zone, and it was neat because he had us all go around and share why we are all on missions. It was so neat to hear everyone’s personal stories, but mostly everyone are all here for the same reasons - to invite others to come unto Christ and just help others and share the gospel with people! We have people from the states, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Nicaragua, and Paraguay, so it is quite a diverse group, but it was sooooo cool to hear everyone’s personal testimonies and a lot of people talked about their families, as well-being good examples to little siblings, or doing it for their moms because they love them so much.

One elder talked about how he knew that in heaven before this life he promised someone that he would find them on this earth and share with them the gospel so they can be happy and enjoy this earth life. He just knows that they are out here in Cordoba, Argentina, and he will do whatever it takes to find them and share with them this gospel to change their life and give them his love. It was so neat.

This experience really made me think about my life, and why I am really out here on a mission. Of course we come on missions to preach the gospel, but I thought about how I got our here and what was my drive. I truly thought about the good example and love of my wonderful parents, and I just want to thank you mom and dad for everything you have helped me with in my life, and never giving up on me, and always encouraging me to be better and just always being strong in the gospel. I also thought of the good example of my siblings – Camille, my best friend ever, who just loves and gets along with everyone she meets! My brother Nick - I hope you know how much of a good influence you have been in my life and you are a lot of the reason I am out here today. Thank you for always being such a loving and caring person - I will never forget the looks on those peoples faces in Uruguay - that just couldn’t express in words how happy they were that they met you, and what an influence you were to them. Never forget those experiences you had in the mission - and never forget that I still look up to you and love you so much for your strong and shining example to me.

My friends - all of you that have served missions and came home just glowing in the light of Christ and truly just shining to everyone you come in contact with. I felt that light at everyone of your homecoming talks, and I thank you for your powerful testimonies that drove me to have the desire to come out here and do the work of the Lord, as well and to have that same light and those same experiences!

I cannot express the power of influence in this life. People are always watching everything we do - and I just hope we all remember how much we can have an impact on the people and the relationships we have in this life. Everyone that has been on missions - keep sharing those amazing experiences you had and always remember them to give you strength and keep being those good examples to all. Anyone who is on a mission right now - I hope you realize, like I am beginning to realize, how crucial it is and how much you are helping and affecting the people in your life for the better, not just on your mission, but back at home too! Remember your siblings and friends and extended family and never forget that these experiences you will remember for your whole life, and anytime you share them with others, you could be inspiring another person to go out and want to serve the Lord as well and have those same amazing experiences.

I thank all of the missionaries out there seriously - for their examples to me and their hard work - the mission is truly so hard and just know that no matter what - being out in the field, you have so much love and support at home and everyone is just so proud! Anyone that is thinking about going-truly know that this is the best place you could ever be and that it will change you for the better! Even people that are not going to serve or can’t for whatever reason, its still just so important to remember that we are always an example to someone in our lives and sometimes we don’t know it, or we forget, but its so important to always know that people are looking up to you, and watching you and really can always be inspired just by the little things you say and do in your life. Remember your testimonies and always just have that light of Christ burning inside of you and have that unconditional love for all, so you can continue to grow and improve yourself.

I am sooooo happy to be here in the mission right now and truly am learning new things every day! Of course its soooo hard and at times, I wonder why and question, and want to doubt, but I just always remember that this is the Lord’s work and His time, and its all his will, and if I do my part he will do his in time. I LOVE YOU ALL, and will talk to you Monday!!!! Chauuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Hermana Pond!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years in Argentina

Monday January 3rd, 2011

Friends and Family!

Oh my gosh I don’t even know where to begin!!!! It has been such an amazing past few weeks, and I am sad because it has gone by so fast! So I will start with Christmas - Christmas is CRAZY here! Literally there are just people out in the streets everywhere, and everyone has huge BBQ’s and fire works are going off left and right. We ate with a member’s family and there were like 50 people there - it was such a party - and me and my comp were just like cracking up the whole time, because it literally was like World War 2, just bombs going off everywhere, and it doesn’t even phase anyone. Everyone was just tranquilo and like eating and loving life - haha - I loved it so much. Me and my comp also got to lay on our roof together and just look at the stars and talk about Christmas and memories, and it was just such a good day, one I will truly never forget.

So some funny things – always - from this week....

So this family that we are working with that I always talk about - there are just always tons of people at their house, and it is just so unpredictable what is going to go down when we arrive. One time we were just sitting outside about to teach, and the grandma comes up to us and just starts pouring water all over our feet, because it was hot - haha - and it was just so awk - we were like in the middle of talking and she comes and just throws all this water all over all our feet. Also one day we were all talking, and I just smelled something so gross, and I look down and there is this dog on the ground and it had flies all over it, and all this blood starts coming out everywhere, and the mom finally looks down and notices and freaks out and tells everyone in the house to clean up this dead dog. She just starts like sweeping it away with a broom – hahaha - it was sad but funny. Also there are always tons of random men there that help build this new house they are getting, and one day they were all out front and cooking an iguana!!! I was so freaked out - it was funny - we took pics. Then they asked us to take pics with their horse, and the grandma kept trying to get in thre picture, and they were yelling at her – hahahaha - it was so funny. This family is nuts, but I LOVE them.

We are working with their 2 kids who have baptism dates for Jan 15th - Claudia and Juan - they are SO great, and so escogido (translation: choice, chosen). We just need to get permission from their mom, who is stubborn and doesn’t want it, so we are going to have a fast with Claudia this week and just pray really hard her mom will let her and her brother get baptized.

We also found this family-the Toledos - who are an incomplete famiily and they have 9 kids! They have been inactive for a while, and for missionaries it has been SO hard to find the parents ever to talk to them, but it was truly a miracle - one day we got in and found both the parents and talked to them and invited them to the ward Christmas party and guess what....they all came on their own and had such a good time! It was such a Christmas miracle! We are teaching them now and they really do want to change and get the rest of their kids baptized so they can go through the temple when it is finished in a year or 2!!! This is so exciting!!! I love their family so much, and it honestly is a miracle that we are working with them. We are going to try and get their kids baptized by the end of January!

Another miracle is that one of our investigators got married and they stopped drinking coffee after we taught them the word of wisdom. They said they will get baptized this month!!! So we are really praying hard for them - it is a couple and their son who is 10, and they have progressed a lot - they just need to go to church, and its hard because she always works on Sundays, but she is going to try and find another job so she can go to church so we are really praying hard for them!

Also Lucy - my favorite and most precious investigator - she has been tough, and we haven’t been able to teach her in a while and it’s been really hard for me. She has also become more flojo (loose, non-committal) and just doesn’t seemed as pumped to get baptized...BUT, we had a really spiritual lesson with her a few days before Christmas and she was crying about how its hard - her family never has money this time of year, and it makes her sad and feel like a bad mom and it is hard for her to enjoy Christmas. We said that we understood, but then we talked about the true meaning of Christmas, and our experience out here in the mission, and how much it is more focused on Christ, and how happy we are, and it was just so spiritual we were all crying and filled with the spirit…….it was a miracle. So we are hoping she will go to church this week and we can get her ready for her date in Jan.

Also this week we have been really working with inactives. There is a family that I LOVE that lives below us named the Britos and they have been inactive for awhile, but have been in the church longer than any family in the area, and I just know they have such strong testimonies, and we had a noche day hogar (translated “night of home” - FHE) with them and the whole family, and it was so tender and spiritual and we talked about setting goals for the new year and they talked about how they really want to go back to going to church as a family. It was so great!!!

Also I taught a whole lesson by myself! We had a noche de hogar with my favorite family, the Barbosas, and it was honestly one of the most spiritual experiences in my mission so far. We went around and we all talked about our favorite part of this past year - our favorite and most memorable experience or what we are grateful for-and they all went around and its been such a hard time for them, but they just were all crying and sharing such powerful and tender experiences, and just talked about how grateful they were for the gospel and for their families. Me and Hermana Brown shared as well, and I went last. I talked about how I have been so lucky this past year - I have traveled so many different places, and done so many fun things, but truly the best experience of my year was when I first went through the temple and to have all my family there all dressed in white - it truly was like heaven to me, and I have never felt so close to my Heavenly Father and the heavens in my life. I was just filled with so much peace and so content, and in that moment I have never felt so grateful for my beautiful family and how families can be together forever and how in that moment I knew that this was true.

Like you all know, the mom in this family is deaf, and doesn’t really understand, but honestly her and I just have this bond, and even though my Spanish is not even close to that good - she was able to understand perfectly, and the whole family understood, and all of us - even the inactive dad-were just crying and so filled with the spirit. I am SO grateful for this experience because I know that it was only through the spirit I was able to give this lesson. In the end I talked about how fun and great our years can be but in the end......we always start and finish with families, and how important they are to us and our lives, and how we always need to focus on improving our relationships with each other, and always improving ourselves. It was so neat!

So we had New Years Eve last night in Bellville with 2 other sister Latin missionaries. It was SO MUCH FUN! We had all this food in their apartment and did cheers, and we sat on the balcony all together and watched fireworks……it was SO magical and such a great night!!!!

Today I am starting INTERCAMBIOS!!! I am staying in a different area – Bellville - for 5 days with another sister missionary who is from Chile and does not speak a word of English…...so I am nervous! But pray for me! I know it will be a good experience and will help my Spanish a lot, but it def will be a challenge.

There is sooo much more to tell, and I wish I could just write every detail, but I have to go! I cannot express enough that I know without a doubt in my mind this gospel is true, and can change peoples lives - it can truly make you HAPPY! Every day I am just in the streets, and its hot, I have blisters all over my feet, people are all asleep during ciesta or they are rejecting us, or I can’t understand the Spanish, but it doesn’t even matter. I am still like skipping in the streets just beaming with joy, so happy to be alive and sharing this gospel with people! I bet people think I am crazy when they see this tall awk white girl just with this huge grin on her face saying hola to everyone, and has a huge messy bun on her head - haha - but it does not even matter. I want the world to know what joy this gospel can bring to lives……what light and love and peace can fill the soul through coming unto Christ and following him. These past few weeks its been so hard, because I have seen so many SAD, SAD family and living situations, and it has just reminded me what an important role parents have for their kids, and how their example and influence will change everything. Be SO grateful for the lives you all live, and the wonderful families and parents you have. You are all truly so blessed to be in such homes filled with much love and appreciation and good morals. I am sooo grateful for my parents and so thankful for growing up in this gospel.

I just want everyone to know that I am so thrilled to be here. It is hard, but I am enjoying learning, progressing, and loving every moment! It is a new year, and so I hope everyone is thinking of the things they can work on, and improve this year! I know I am. Oh and I FINALLY finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish!!!! I am starting D & C in Spanish now, and reading out of the New Testament in English. I just finished Matthew. I love the scriptures and every day I read them I am filled ith so much inspiration! How lucky we are to have them!!! I hope everyone has a good week!!! Love you ALL!!! Feliz Ano Nuevo!!! Chau!!

Love Hermana Pond!

Christmas in Argentina

Hola everyone! Sorry this email won’t be very long but we have like no time this week - we spent all p-day in San Fransisco playing uno with our district and making snow flakes - it was fun! But I have so much to tell you all, so I will try and be quick-it has been a great week!!!

First of all I want to thank all my friends and family that write me - I truly love you all so much and miss you - and thanks for the support and know I am reading your emails and love you all!! Thank You!

Also something I am very thankful for in my life and have been missing a lot this season here in Argentina - AIR CONDITIONING! It doesn’t even exist here, and I don’t even know how these people live - its getting hotter and hotter and sometimes those little rotating fans in houses just don’t do it for me....so be thankful for every place you step into this week that has cold and refreshing air conditioning!!! You are all truly blessed with the smallest and simplest things we just take for granted and don’t think about every day.

So all is well in cute little Arroyito Candy Land! The work is progressing and we are just always working hard and seeing miracles! I love my companion and we are just so happy and get along sooo well!! This week was a little different, because we were traveling sooo much - we have a zone conference one day and we have a mission conference for Christmas - both were so much fun!!! The Christmas conference was the best day ever - we had spiritual devotionals where missionaries got up who were leaving and bore tender testimonies of the mission, and talks by the president- then work shops - practicing how to be better missionaries - and then we had an asado!!! Just HUGE feast of meat for lunch- it was so good - then we had all these activities and games the rest of the day outside in this big field like relay races and played volleyball - they also played Christmas music to get us in the mood! At the end we had a water balloon and water fight with everyone, and we all just soaked each other including the mission president and his wife - it was SO much fun - and we had ice cream after. Then the mission president dressed up as Santa Claus and gave us all gifts for Christmas, and handed out packages! It was seriously the funnest day ever!!! I love the mission! And I got to see friends from the MTC so that was way fun.

Something funny is that one night we were planning, and a little tiny orange kitten came in our apt and we kept it for a few days and named it Dulce - haha - of course- everyone is thinking creepy cat lady- Jami finding pets on her mission, but really it came to us!! Haha -it was so cute, but then we just let it free - cute little Dulce...

Also we decorated our apt for Christmas!! We have a little festive Christmas tree- its soooo cute- and today we cut out snow- flakes to hang all around! Its so cute! I love it- and really gets us in the spirit of Christmas!!!

A tender moment that happened this week is we were at choir and everyone knows how much I love the members and we are singing Christmas songs for our next meeting to sing in and this night was just really peaceful, and we were all just really thinking about Christmas and getting excited and feeling the spirit of it. 3 people sang a little trio to silent night, and we were just all silent and listening and it was just sooo soo peaceful, and the church was just filled with the spirit and we could all feel it. One of the most recent covert families who I love, and are just so strong in the gospel she just began to cry listening to the beautiful words of the song and it was just so tender - the gospel truly does change lives- and especially at Christmas time. This family is going to celebrate it, and think of it in such a different way and really just ponder about Christ and his birth and life and his example and it was just such a neat moment.

Also one of the members I love in the ward – Mercedes, who is deaf - one day we were helping her clean and we were talking about the holidays and Christmas. She is just so happy and such a positive and inspiring person who has been through so much but is so strong in the end - and we told her we loved her Christmas tree and it was sooo pretty and she said that it was from her mom who past away a few years ago and she just started crying. I just held her and hugged her and she cried and talked about how its always hard at this time of year around Christmas because she was so close to her mom and it was her favorite holiday, but the tree and everything about the holiday makes her feel her spirit still, and love her mom has for her and her family and is watching over them. She is just so thankful for the knowledge of the gospel and the comfort it brings her. This just made me think of my mom and family and Christmas- and yes its hard right now around the holidays, being away from home, but I am just so grateful that I got to be with Mercedes in this moment and share with her my love for her and show her that I am here for her, and we are like a family. She just truly inspires me, and really made me remember the true meaning of Christmas - how we need to serve others and remember and love our families.

We still have some really good strong investigators and some came to church this Sunday and are progressing! We have faith and hope they will be baptized this transfer!

Truly there is soooooo much more I want to tell you all, but I have to go - sorry this is so short, but I will tell you ALL the details when we talk on CHRISTMAS!!! Can’t wait!

I truly love you all so much, and know I am safe, happy, and loving every second of my mission!!!!! Its truly the best thing that has ever happened to me! I am learning so much every day!!!!! I hope everyone has a good week

Cchaooooooooooooooo and Happy Christmasssss!!!!