About Me

My photo
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.

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 20th, 2011
Family and friends!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am just so excited to be writing you all this week! Every week I come into the cyber to write I just sit down with ALL these memories and SO many things to tell you all and I don’t even know where to begin. I hope that today I can get across as clear possible the feelings in words that I have experienced this last week. I have just been so privileged to be around so many good people and having the chance to feel the spirit so powerfully and have so many good experiences.

First something way fun and funny is we found that family of like 20 a week or 2 ago, and last night we were teaching them all and it was so cool we truly felt like great prophets or something…..just sitting there with all these people so into it, and listening intently, but today they invited us over and we all had a HUGE asado which is just like a ton of way good meat, and so many people were there and it was so much fun! Loved it.

I want to start with our zone conference. I LOVE getting together as a zone as missionaries with the missión president and just talking so deeply and profoundly about the work and just getting at it and all putting in our testimonies and opinions on how we can be better and have success. I love my missión president he is just so positive and has so much energy and faith in the work he is my idol! So on Tuesday night we traveled to Bellville and got to go to the hermanas apartment and have a sleepover! It was so much fun - I love the hermanas in my zone! Hermana Brown who is from Springville, and is so cute and then Hermana Masters who is MY FAV and from LA and just got to the missión. I hope we are comps someday! So we all went to the conference together Wednesday and it was just SO inspiring! My favorite part was a talk that we got to watch by Elder Holland that he gave in the MTC in January and it literally blew my mind!!! I was so moved and inspired and touched by it! He talked about a few things we could better as missionaries and talked about the importance of this time in our lives and that it will literally shape us into who we will be the rest of our lives starting now, and that everything we are given and experience after we return home is thanks to the missión. I love when he talks about his own personal missión and how it meant everything to him, and he always just gets so pensive and quiet and is so grateful for his missión and loves it SO much. He shared a story in the New Testament that just brought me to tears. It is in John 21 when Christ appears to the apostles and they are out fishing and they see Christ on the shore, and Peter is just so excited and so thrilled and knows it is the Savior our master, and he jumps into the wáter and swims to shore to him. As they get there Christ is with Peter and asked him three different times if Peter loves him and he answers so confused every time – yes Lord I love you - and is just wondering why and how would he not know and then Christ says in verse 17 “Feed my sheep….and then later tells him to “follow me.” As Holland gave this story he was just so emotional and related this story to missionary work and how as missionaries we have dropped everything and we have willing obeyed Christ’s invitation to follow him and feed his sheep, and if we love him - we love the Lord - we are going to do just that, and forget everything else and do everything in this time and in our power to feed Christ’s sheep, and be apart of his great work.

It just moved me this moment and I realized that my responsibility, not only as a missionary, but as a member to be Christ’s servant and if I really do love my Savior with all my heart, I will not look back, like it describes in the story in Luke 9 55-62. When Christ asks us we follow and we go forward and serve him with all our hearts and do anything and everything he asks. We don’t doubt or question or wonder why because that is not faith. As members of the church we are simply invited to follow the steps that Christ has laid out for us like it describes in 1 Peter 2 verse 21 and we must follow that example. I just loved this talk and it really reminded me of my duty and how much the Savior does love us. Since he asks this of us, we truly need to carry through and do our part to show him that we love him and will do anything to follow him.

Another really neat experience we had this week was with the lady Marialina, that we found last week when her daughter came running after us. We passed and she said she had read and loved it and felt the spirit when she prayed. We then later got talking in a lesson with her about churches and she told us she would never go to our church and just likes to listen to people but doesn’t think she needs to go to a church and said she is never going to change her religión. We got talking - aside from religión and culture - because here everyone is Catholic, but does not practice, but still love to say they are Catholic. So I always just try and tell them…okay aside from anything from your traditions and beliefs lets just talk about God…..-do you believe in God…..that he truly exists and answers your prayers and is listening to you? She agreed so we got talking about that and she was just so stubborn, and kept saying she would never change and she doesn’t see the difference between the churches. Then with every part of my heart and soul I just looked her in the eye and I asked her…… would she like to know the difference, and she got all quiet and said yes…..and then I told her that the difference is that each one of us has personally gotten on our knees and asked our God - our Father in Heaven who loves us and wants us to know the truth - if the church was true, and he has ALWAYS answered our prayers through the Holy Ghost in our hearts, and the feelings that I had received and felt in my life I could never ever deny. This moment just hit me so hard and it was so quiet and in this exact moment I just was hit so strongly and touched very directly by the spirit that was testifying of the things that i spoke of.

THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE. We as members of the church - like it says in the introduction to the Book of Mormon - are invited to read and learn and study and ponder the things we are provided by members, by missionaries, by leaders, by anyone that tells us about the gospel, and then after we find ourselves in that moment, with a sincere heart real intent to know and have that faith in Christ, we go to our personal father in heaven, who knows us personally, each individually and loves us so much. We ask HIM all the questions doubts concerns and wonders we have and through those feelings - the Holy Ghost - we KNOW that what we have heard, what we have been studying……the church we have been going to, the things people have shared with us….. ARE INDEED TRUE. I have just never received such a strong and clear testimony of a principle - just so simple and basic and I was just so very grateful for my Father in Heaven in this very moment and the testimony that I have received for myself that the things that I share and live and the things I do daily are true! In the end we ended up leaving her with this invitation to read, pray, and ask, and so we will see how it went next week.

We are still working with Familia More, and they are doing just so well, just progressing so much and opening up and I just feel SO much love and care for them and we are hoping and praying for their baptism to happen this week or the next. The dad invited us to eat with their family one day so that was fun, and Marilyn - the daughter - came to all 3 hours and loved it and the members were sooo good to her!

Also when I was here in Arroyito in about November I met a guy named Blas, who is like 19 years old and he speaks fluent English and he is just so cool…..I love him. We always wanted to teach him but we never got the chance because we just bécame such good friends and it got weird and talking in English all the time. It was hard and when I left I didn’t get to see him and forgot about it. This last week I was thinking about him a lot and we passed and he was home! He is going to school in Cordoba, but he comes home for the weekend and we set an appointment and I was so scared to talk to him because normally we just chat and its weird to bring it up. I prayed so hard and I just knew that he needed to hear about and read the Book of Mormon. So we showed up at his house and we got talking like usual, and we ended up asking him all about his beliefs and he is Catholic, but doesn’t practice, and he is so confused because he wonders why there is only one God and so many different churches..….LOVE IT! We just got huge grins on our faces and just thought wow he is just so great he just had so many good questions and we were just sooooo excited to answer them! It was weird because we taught in English, but as I was teaching him - in my own language - the restoration, I was just so overwhelmed and filled with joy and the spirit.. and it was honestly like in the movie the best 2 years when the elder is finally teaching a guy they found in English and as he is talking about Joseph Smith and his testimony he is just so emotional and says - and that is why I am here - I said those exact words to Blas - as we bore testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and the spirit filled every corner of that very room. I just felt very grateful for the opportunity we have to share this amazing life changing message with others and even though at first - because it was weird and I was nervous and we were friends and talked in English - it truly is just soooooooo easy! Blas is just great and said it all made sense and he was so excited and was going to take the promise and read the Book of Mormon!

As members of this church with this unique and true message that we carry in our hearts daily we need to open our mouths and tell about it to everyone! I just love this góspel so much, and I regret all those times I had to share the gospels with others and I didn’t because I had that fear. Fear is the opposite of faith…they can’t coexist! We need to just drop all of these feelings and worries and human doubts that come and do as Christ has asked us and follow him and feed his sheep. I LOVE YOU ALL AND MISS YOU! Hope you have a good week!

Much Love - Hermana Jami Alison Pond

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 13th, 2011

Family and Friends!

How is everyone doing?! All is well is happy Candyland! It is definitely winter here and getting colder by the day. Its truly been such an amazing week I don’t even know where to start!

First of all - we were working on Monday night after p-day and felt like we couldn’t find anyone because all of our appointments were ditching us, so we just kept going and praying hard and tried listening to the spirit to be guided to the right people for that specific night. So we were contacting and knocking doors and we talked to this one lady named Nelida and she is about 65, lives alone, and her husband just died about 7 months ago, and she was just a mess. She began crying and talking about how she has lost hope in everything, and is sick of trying to receive help and strength from others, but she wasn’t getting it, and didn’t feel like God was listening to or answering her prayers. We testified to her that we were sent as servants of God to come to her door and share with her a message of hope, and that she would be able to see her husband after this life and be with him again. We left her with a prayer and hugged her so tight and it was just so sad to see this poor woman all alone with no hope in the world to live - we were so grateful to be able to promise and testify to her that god does live and listens to and answers our prayers and she could receive peace and comfort for the message we shared.

Then we left and kept on passing for more people and got to about 830...we were just going to start heading home, but I said we should try a few more houses and call it a night. My comp walked straight up to this door and this girl came out and let us in because it was truly soooo freezing outside and we were shivering. We walked in to a cute comfortable home with the heater on and a whole family of 7 just sitting all around the table ready to listen to us. Sometimes I get so nervous, and intimidated because now that I am senior comp, I have to talk most and understand everything and I always wonder – am I even capable of doing it...the family – Romero -was SO nice and as I began to talk to them I just felt such a love for them and just felt so much trust and confidence in God and I knew he would carry me through lesson and have the spirit speak through me. We sang a song and told them who we were and our main purpose as missionaries, and testified of the truth and importance of our message. They really liked it and the spirit was strong and they said we could come back another night! So many miracles!

Then Tuesday we were walking around after some of our lessons and trying to figure out what to do, because we had gone through all of our plans and none had worked out. My comp was really down and tired and mad and she didn’t have any idea what to do. We sat down and I asked if we could pray – (something I love about the mission is just sitting down anywhere, and pleading for the Lord’s help and guidance of the spirit….good stuff!) So we prayed and I kept feeling impressed to go to this specific house, but my comp wanted to try other things so we did but then I told her we needed to go back to this one specific house and knock this door and I just knew they would let us in. We go up to it and the doors cracked open and they tell us to come right in. We met a cute older lady sewing, her daughter, and then another little girl of her daughter…..a house of 3 girls! They were SO cute and welcoming and loving and said they knew about the church and had heard about it from a member here and just moved into Arroyito, and said that they love to study religion and search for answers to questions of the soul.....yes!!!! We sang and testified and talked a little about the restoration and promised blessings and answers to their prayers if they read and prayed. It was such a miracle!

Also on Saturday morning we were passing for some investigators and references from members and everyone was rejecting us and we were so over it- haha- and a little discouraged...but of course we pressed forward with our faith and hope in the Lord and the spirit and continued searching for those people that were ready to hear our message. We talked to this one lady who seemed very busy and said she was Catholic and didn’t have any interest. I was so ready to be over it, thank her and keep going, but my comp just looked her in the face and boldly and lovingly testified to this lady that she knew that our message was true, and if it weren’t she would not have traveled so many miles to Argentina to be at her door step telling her about it and she promised her that if she just gave us 5 minutes of her time she would feel the same way. It was intense! I was way impressed. So she rejected us again and we took off. Then we went and found a guy named Maricio, who has been taught by elders before and knows some English, and we didn’t get to teach him but set an appointment to pass for him again and teach him and his family. As we were walking away I felt like I should turn around, and I see this girl running after us saying senora senora....she said her mom wants us to come back and teach her now! The stubborn lady from the door... I knew she had felt that strong spirit when my comp testified! So we got in and talked to her and she talked about her dad recently died and she has all these questions and we talked to her a little about the plan of salvation and we testified so much of the truth of the gospel and how it has all of the answers to her questions. We said that if she would study what we give her and prays about it, she will know for herself! It was so neat.

Also last night we had a lesson with an investigator, Claudia, and she was just SO hard and SO Catholic, and we taught the restoration and the spirit was VERY strong and she got it but is just so stuck on tradition, and didn’t agree and commit to pray to see if its the truth. We were way sad about her, so we left and we ended up just walking down this road, and I was so flustered and sad about Claudia, and we found ourselves at a house of some contacts and felt we should see if there home. They were home, and invited us in, and had SO many good questions that literally every lesson would answer, and as they were asking each question, I just felt so much love for them, and the spirit was just confirming to me and my comp and them--because they felt it too! They were so prepared and ready to find the truth and all these answers they have been looking for! I love them, and truly have never felt so guided in a lesson with such a clear and powerful feeling of the spirit, and my comp felt the same...Lorena and Walter! They will definitely progress!

Also on Sunday was a conference we had in San Fransisco, and we traveled with the whole ward on a bus in the morning there and we got to listen to a Satelite talk from apostles just for South America - it was SO good! I took so many notes! The bus ride was way fun, and all the members brought food and were drinkin MATE’ and it was such a party. The best part ever is that the Familia More came!!!!! Raquel, Makarena, Marilin, Myra and Milagros...so stoked! I was just beaming to have investigators there to hear the words of apostles and be uplifted and feel the spirit. It was so amazing!

Now the best miracle of the week! Since I got to Arroyito when I started my mission I just fell in love with this family who live below us and take care of us….they are practically my family, and I just have so much love for them. They have had so many problems in their lives and they have been inactive now for like a year. It has been my dream to get them reactivated since I met them, and we have seen a little progress…..the dad is now going sometimes with his two younger kids, and Cookie’s girlfriend got baptized and is now a member, but he doesn’t go. So one night we talked to them and planned a family home evening and they agreed! I was so nervous, because all were going to be there, and I had no idea what to do and we didn’t have anything planned. We were sitting in the apartment like 10 minutes before the appointment and we both felt we needed to focus the message and night on Christ. As we kept thinking of activities and things and scriptures to use literally it was like revelation and all of it came together so perfectly. My companion loves the idea of “hands”…..and she has this song she loves to listen to called- “his hands”-and as we listened to it this night, I was looking around the apartment at all the pictures we have of Christ and in all of them you could see Christ’s hands, and in all of them he was reaching out or holding or carrying or touching or loving someone or just extending his hands. We then found some of our favorite stories in the scriptures when it talks about Christ’s hand and how its always extended out to us, and we took all the pictures-the one famous picture -my child- and Jesus Loves Me - and all these of Christ with his hands and made this our lesson.

This lesson was honestly so powerful! We shared personal experiences of how we have literally seen the Lord’s hand in our lives to lift and help us and we heard their stories, and we talked about how like it says in the scriptures in Isaiah 59:1 - behold the Lord’s hand, is not shortened, that it cannot save...and in Jacob 6:4 and how merciful is our God unto us for he remembereth the house of Israel both roots and branches and he stretched forth his hands unto them all day long. And how literally we are engraven in his hands, like it says in 2 Nephi 21:16 behold I have engraven thee upon the palms of my hands and in 2 Nephi 19:12 where it talks about that his hands is stretched out still.

We focused on how much Christ loves us and how much he did for us so we don’t have to suffer. He sees us just so weak and sad and down on our hard times and always extends that hand out to us - offering his love and strength, because he knows that he is the one that can help us overcome those trials because he has been there before and has felt that pain and he wants to help us. So many times we don’t think we are worthy of his light and his love, and we think we are just so far off and its been so long that it’s too hard to find him, but Christ is always with us and ever around us, and waiting there with that extended hand out to us...we just need to make that decision! We need to accept and take his hand and accept his love and forgive ourselves and have that change of heart and make that step to change. That is why we have Christ! We know we need him! He is the only way that we are going to be given that strength to continue. No one elses hands can do that for us. I love the scripture in Philippians 4- 13 that says I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me. Its so important that we remember those hands.…those mighty strong and pure hands that are out and extended to us daily to take hold of them and lift us up and receive help to try and try again. There is never an end. He is always here!

I am so grateful that I can testify with all the strength and energy and power that I have in my soul and heart that Christ does live and loves me and has always been there to lift me up with those hands of his. I can testify that I have literally seen his hand in my life daily in the mission and without his help, this work would not be possible. I invite you all to see the Lord’s hand stretched out to you and accept it and walk with the Lord and I promise you that his path will bring you lasting and promising light and joy. I have seen, felt, experienced, cherished and loved every part of the light in my life and especially in my mission……and for that reason alone I stand as a witness and representative of the living Son of the living God daily to shine that light and bring it to others. I love this work and I love this gospel!

Hermana Pond

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Monday June 6th, 2011

Family and friends,

Hola! I cannot believe how Fast the week flies by! So much to tell!

First -IT IS SO COLD HERE! Winter has definitely hit and I am kind of liking it but not! I am so white, which bothers me! Also its just so windy here, and I found some old poor boots in the apartment from other missionaries and clomp around in those just tossin on all sorts of random clothing before I head out – haha - I feel so poor lookin - but its great…its part of the misión!

One morning we were studying all cold and content with our little blow dryer lookin heater by our feet and we got a knock on the door and thought – that’s weird – who is wanting to talk to us this early - and we open it and its the TJs!!! (Jehovah’s Witness) There were 3 girls from a different religión and they immediately recognized us, and got sooo awkward and like didn’t know what to say, and nervously read a scripture out of the bible and ran off - haha - it was pretty comical. I am not sure why they were so weird about it - I was about to invite them right in and share some scriptures and converse with them…so funny.

Also we were walking in the streets one day and this little old man like is yelling at us to come over to him and we are all worried because he seems like something is wrong, and we run over to help him and he just ends up asking us if we know where we can find him some single ladies because he is a lonely old man and has this empty house and wants to share it with someone…he tried like pulling us in but we just ended up inviting him to church and running away haha. Also last night we were going to meet some references of a member and when we passed by he was TRASHED and the member was so embarrassed and awk and didn’t know and he kept trying to hug and touch us and the member was like no you cant touch them! And he was like who cares, and closed his curtains and was like no one can see! When we tried leaving we went to shake his hand and he said that we are in Argentina and because we are we need to greet and part the right way and grabbed our faces and kissed us! Haha it was so funny.

Also last funny thing…this morning I woke up SO tired and just SO out of it and the alarm went off and I woke up went straight towards the door and apparently I thought it was open and literally walked SMACK right into it like SO loud - it was like in the movies, and I almost toppled backwards! I was laughing so hard at myself in the dark, so early in the morning, because I couldn’t believe how out of it I was.

So we are still working with some really good people! This week we have been passing a lot for the family More, and one night we were mostly just teaching the 2 daughters who are twins and 18 and then the mom but the dad came in and I was so excited because I really have just been wanting to meet and teach him and had a feeling he needed to listen. Of course…we were teaching the plan of salvation, my favorite! When he came in we were talking about Christ and the Atonement, and the spirit was just SO strong, and you could just see it in all of them! They were just so filled with light and joy, and there was just such a good feeling surrounding every wall of their house…..it was one of my favorite lessons. At the end we all got in a circle on our knees with all the family and I had a feeling one of the twins should do the prayer and I asked her and she gave such a beautiful heartfelt prayer and she was crying and at the end we were all just crying and it was SO powerful! After I found out that the mom - when the missionaries came to her house - was just having such bad stress and anxiety in her life and since she has been going to church and hearing the lessons her life has completely changed and she just feels so much more calm and care free and enjoys every minute of life! Her husband drinks and smokes and it has always been a problem in her family, but he is slowly trying to quit and I told her these things will definitely help and change it all for him and his family, and she can share the Book of Mormon with him and help and lead him by example! She is so great!

Also we had such a miracle on Sunday- it was Fast Sunday my favorite, and they had promised us they would go to church but they still hadn’t come, but right for sacrament they showed up and came in and ALL the testimonies were SO good, and all the youth got up and bore SUCH Strong testimonies and new converts and the spirit was just so incredibly thick and it was just so emotional and good and they loved it!

Also this week we have been helping a member with English and he showed us a really moving poem called “The Bridge” - I am not sure mom if you could look it up and post it - but its about Christ and what he did for us and how God gave his son for all of us and its so good! This member is so tender and was just crying and talking about how much this knowledge of this gospel has blessed and helped his life because he is the only member and has so many problems in his family and he would just be so lost without it! He is such an example to me! I love strong youth in the church they are just my heroes.

Another tender mercy from the Lord this week was one morning I was studying in the Book of Mormon and it was just SO inspiring to me, and I loved it SO much, and felt that I should share it at lunch with one of my favorite families that are members here. Right when we got there she was just so emotional and has had such a hard week and is really struggling with her rebellious teenage daughter who is really inactive and so unhappy and they want to help her but they don’t know what to do. My heart just broke for this poor mother and I truly just thought of my own mother….how many prayers and tears and heartache and sadness my parents went through all that time for me, and what courage and strength and what patience it really took. I shared my personal story with her and then opened up to the scriptures to MOSIAH 27- any parent that is just struggling and in so much pain and sadness for your children right now open up to the Book of Mormon and read Mosiah 27:14…..I read this with her about how much praying and fasting and patience it took Alma’s dad for him to finally get to that moment where his son could experience the spirit and conversion, and Atonement for himself. In 24-30 it goes into the feelings Alma the younger had - from pain and sins and sorrow to light and joy and forgiveness, and literally being born again of God. Alma the younger was literally doing everything in his power to convince people against the church and ruin it - you would never even think that someone like him would ever come around and change…but thanks to a loving strong patient faithful and hopeful father, God answered the prayers of this helpless loving dad and his son was changed.

THERE IS HOPE! I am truly so grateful for a Father in Heaven that loves all of his children equally and regardless of the decisions they have made in the past the things they have said or done - ANYONE IS ABLE TO CHANGE! Anyone can come to the perfect and clear and well worth knowledge that we do have a living Heavenly Father who sent his son to die for us, so we can live again and be cleansed from sin and return to his presence some day….don’t give up the hope….don’t lose the faith! Keep up all your endless love and prayers and patience and I promise you all…that God is listening…and in his due time…he will heal and convert those people out there that we love so very much.

This morning I found such an amazing scripture in 1 Samuel 16:7 that talks about how God knows each and everyone of our hearts so perfectly and purely and he loves us for our hearts, and not for our outward appearance and outward actions, but what we have within…and out duty as his servants and his members of the church is to find that perfect pure and living soul in each individual person and LOVE THEM all! We need to see them how God sees them and always have hope that they will change and develop into that divine potential God knows they have! I love this gospel SOOOO much and I am daily seeing its clarity and perfectness, which drives me to open my mouth to each person I encounter and share my testimony of it! I LOVE YOU ALL AND MISS YOU! HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD WEEK!

Love Hermana Pond

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Friends and family! I dont even know where to begin!!!!

So first of all….2 things I love about the little towns and being back in Candyland……first of all I remember where everything is and everyone remembers you! I will like be walking down the street and people will be saying my name and like people always waving and stuff – hahaha - I feel famous! Also this little town is so cool because here…Everyone lets you in! In the city we would spend ALL day contacting and knocking Doors and not get into one home but here every single door we knock people let us in with a smile and are just so nice and humble and loving…I love it!

So something awkward and embarrassing…ALWAYS! So we are still using and riding bikes here, and they are way nice, more like road bikes and I feel way glam on them. But the seat on mine broke so I have been still using it because we have been riding around to appointments like crazyyyy. One day we were going down a hill and I always sit on the edge of the seat and just ride down right….NO! haha - first I forgot my seat was broken…so I was so wobbly then I went into this huge awkward ditch, and that threw me off balance and then my shoe came off and by this time I was such a mess and then…I TOPPLED OVER like slow motion! It was SO awkward and it was like next to a busy street so all of these cars were going by slowly and like seeing what went down, and if I was ok…..my comp was like laughing her head off and I was just like flustered - my huge winter coat like flopping over me and I was just a mess…so embarrassing! Love it.

So it has been a great week! It honestly was sooooooooo good to come back here and see all the members…I felt like I came home after a long trip! I was so happy, because they all really missed me and said my Spanish is way good. I love being senior companion. First of all, I feel soooooo involved and lost in the work finally and just so ready to give it my all and work my hardest! I am just going crazyyyyy!!! So my comp is Hermana Mccdonald and she is from a little small town called Swan Valley in Idaho. She is a cute little farm girl and I LOVE HER! I actually met her in the MTC and I thought I hope we would be comps someday. We have a lot in common. She only has one transfer less then me, so that has been fun. We are working with a ton of good people and already seeing so many miracles!

First of all - 25 de Mayo is like a hugggeeee Holiday here and we were in San Fran. for a meeting that day and there was like a HUGE parade and tons of people and cotton candy - haha - I bought some and felt like I was at an ethnic Disneyland…..it was great. So the big tradition here is to eat locro on this day, and we had this huge ward party all planned and we were soooo stoked, but there wasn’t a bus going back till late since it was a Holiday, so we got stuck in San Fran and hung out with the Ward there half the day. Then when we got back we went to the church and they gave us locro, and it was so good! It’s like a stew, but I loved it and so many people were at the activity! There were tons of investigators and fun members!

Also right now we are working with a girl named Myra who is a friend of a member and is just so great - going to seminary and to church and activities and is pretty much a member and has a testimony. Buttt the problem is that her mom is having problems accepting her daughter getting baptized in the church and doesn’t think she is committed enough. So we are going to do a fast with her and she has a date for the 25th of June! She is so great and I got to share the story of Rocio with her - how her dad didn’t want her to get baptized, but she read, fasted, and prayed - and with her faith and strength was able to get baptized! She has tons of support and we are way stoked for her!

Also we are working with a family of like 6! Only a few of them have been to church and have dates to get baptized because its really hard to find them all but they are friends with people in the ward and love everything about the church and are just so cute and positive and praying and reading and definitely progressing fast! One night the daughter who is like 17 said the cutest and most sincere prayer I have heard, and when we were about to leave she said she wants to go out and work with us to learn more about the church and prepare to be like us one day and be a missionary! She is a gem.

We also have been seeing and passing a ton for the family Domínguez - the family of 10 that I found here with Hermana Brown, but then I left and didn’t get to see them baptized. But it has been so fun to come back and bond with them and we all just love each other so much! They are such strong converts and help with the work so much! They are always willing to feed us or go to citas with us or give us references. One day after lunch we were just sitting there and I had no idea what to share with them and I felt really prompted to share in Mosiah 24 13-16 one of my favorite scriptures and decided to talk about the atonement and Christ and faith. As I shared my testimony and spoke of Christ the room was just filled with peace and I looked over and this women who I didn’t know who was there was crying really hard and was just really touched. Later that night we were with Hermana Domínguez and she said its her aunt and she is not a member but has listened to the missionaries before and has a Book of Mormon. Her husband just recently passed away and she is going through a really hard time and is alone and looking for her. We taught her Sunday night too and talked a little about the plan of salvation and we are going to pass by her house this week and teach her more!

We also went by LUCY!!!! My first investigator in the misión who I found and taught with Hermana Dickey and she loves the church but is soooo stubborn and hard and still hasn’t gotten baptized. But she has been to baptisms and church and read the Ensigns and Book of Mormon and everything and we just always have bonded. When I showed up at her door she was just crying and jumping for joy! She showed me a picture she printed out of me and her and Hermana Dickey and said she missed me. We took over Hermana Domínguez to teach her with us since they are neighbors and knows her and they are friends. It was soooo perfect! Hermana Domínguez got to share her whole conversión story and how much the gospel has change and blessed their lives and she talked about for years and years the missionaries passed their house and that one day - when me and Hermana Brown were fasting and passed by their house and found them - it was different and it just changed everything! I was so happy to hear here story and realize how much it really did help that I was with Hermana Brown in that very moment to pass by and talk to them! And it really touched and helped Lucy and she said she is going to pray and try to get different work so she can go to church.

So many miracles are just occurring every day! I love the misión soooooooo much and would be nowhere else! I really just love studying the scriptures and finding new ways every day to teach and help the people here to understand how to come unto Christ and find joy and peace in this World. I love the scripture in 3rd Nephi 9 13-14 when Christ is talking to the people and he doesn’t just say that they need to come unto him to be healed but to FOLLOW him as well and do and act so we are able to show our love and dedication and willingness and FAITH that we do and know we can be healed through him. I also love and was studying this week in 1 Nephi 17:41 the story about the children of Isreal and they were simply asked to look at the serpent and believe and it was truly such a simple task! To look and to live and to believe but even then the way was just so simple and the things were so sincere but people still couldn’t do it. We are truly asked as members of the church to look and live and we are promised sooooo many blessings! I can promise anyone who is reading this email that we can overcome tribulation and hard times and difficulties if we just take up our cross like it says in the scriptures. Christ invites his disciples to do and FOLLOW HIM! Drop whatever you are doing and make the actual decision to focus on and not just go unto Christ, but choose to follow his ways. He hasn not promised us that his way is easy but he has promised us TRUE HAPPINESS and eternal life. Always remember like it says in John 16:33 in this life will come tribulation but our Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world and through him we are promised peace. I LOVE YOU ALL and I am praying intently that you are just enjoying the blessings that this gospel has given us and always remembering who you are and to shine that message to the World!

Love Hermana Pond

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Monday May 23rd

Family and friends!

I have truly have had one of the most spiritual and miracle filled weeks of my mission!

First off…we have been working a lot with the family of Emanuel who just got baptized and they have had HUGE changes just in a week. We have been passing every day and having family home evenings and everything and it has been really good.

Also we found a new investigator Sergio. He was a little miracle we had about 2 weeks ago when we went by a reference and found that girl who was crying and said she had listened to the missionaries before and loved it…well it was the other guy that was in the pajamas and way quiet. He is about 40ish and when we sang and shared with him and with her, he said he really loved the song and message and felt a lot better. We passed like 2 or 3 times later this week and the girl was never there but Sergio was, and we couldn’t go in since he is a guy, but we taught him outside. He had been Reading the Book of Mormon and a lesson about faith and baptism, and he said he loved it. Once we started talking to him he said that he feels such a peace when we pass, and he knows and could just feel and could tell that we were sent to him from God. He has had very bad depressión in his life, and has been an alcoholic. Last time we passed, his mom wouldn’t let us in because he was really drunk and was violent and she was crying because she was so scared of him. As we talked to him he really opened up and said how just a few weeks before he really wanted to take his life, and didn’t even know if God existed or if anyone loved or cared about him, and he said it was the lowest he has ever been. He said that as we had began to pass by, he has come to feel and know that there is a God and he might be able to get to know him, and know that he has a purpose. We shared with him in Mark 2:15-17 and it talks about how Christ is our healer for the people who are sick and that everyone and anyone needs to come unto Christ, especially the times in our lives when we are down and spiritually weak or lack. We then told him how much his Heavenly Father loves him, and cares about him, and wants this better life for him. It was honestly amazing……all of the sudden his countenance just changed, and he had so much hope in himself, and to set goals, so he can change, and find this better life and happiness. We invited him to pray, and it was right when his mom got home. He said he wouldn’t pray and we kept encouraging him and then we both bore such strong testimony and promised that he would feel the holy spirit testify to him that God exists and is here listening to him. He finally prayed, and never in my life have I felt the presence of God so close to us 4 people, just surrounding us with light and the presence of angels and peace. The most sincere prayer came out of that mans mouth and it was as if literally God were right next to him, and he was just pleading to him asking for his strength and support to be able to change with his help. After he finished we all just looked at each other in silence, and his mom was crying and he began to weep and we asked him how he felt and he said in that moment he knew God lives and answers prayers. I testified to him with all my heart that God lives and loves him and literally was there in that very moment to lift him up and help him. We were all just so emotional and truly never in my life have I felt SOOOOO spiritually strengthened and guided in a lesson, and felt so spiritually connected to the open heavens to help and guide us to be instruments in God’s hands.

Also….ROCIO GOT BAPTIZED!!!!!!!! Honestly best day of my life! It wasn’t even going to happen, because the bishop called and tried to cancel it, but we called and talked to our missión president and he convinced him and said we could do it! I was soooo happy, because its the end of transfers and I had a feeling I would soon be leaving, and me and Rocio are so tight, and best friends, and she was SO Ready for her baptism and wanted me to be there for it. It was such a spiritual moment for everyone there. It was just a dream to see that beautiful girl all in white, just beaming and so happy, and coming out so clean, and pure and ready to begin a new life as a faithful member of the church! All of her family came - except her dad - and loved it! A member gave a talk and has the exact same story as Rocio, so we were all crying and the spirit was so strong and there was just so much support and love! I gave her a triple with my testimony in it, and a picture of a teenage girl that Looked like her with Christ. She honestly is the most AMAZING girl I have ever met - and is going to be the most amazing missionary wife, leader, and member of the church…she has such a bright future! So that was just perfect.

Then…emanuels family. So I told you that we have been working SO hard and so long with them. This is the guy who was just drunk and on the ground and so lost and confused and crying and wanting a change. We passed soooo much so he and the family would stay focused and pray and read and receive strength and support to stay and have unity in their family and especially so Diego wouldn’t drink at all during the weekend. Sunday after Sunday- we had called and called and called and waited and nothing has happened and they never came through….3 months straight I have been just putting my whole heart and testimony and time and physical energy into this family that I love SO much and never wanted to give up on. From day one I met them I just had such a Strong feeling I should keep passing and teaching them. Even though I knew it was a long road for them to take I just had so much faith and SO much love for them. Sunday morning we are waiting in the church and we had just talked to them in the morning and they were all up and as we are singing in church - I see Emanuel just beaming and so happy with his WHOLE family with him and they come in and sit down. I truly just broke down….I have never been so happy in my life! They LOVED church and the ward was so nice and supportive, and it was just such a happy day.

Later that night we passed for them and had a pizza night and the whole family thanked me and cried and just were so happy that we could get to know each other, and the mom was just saying how much progress and change they can see from just the little goals they are accomplishing. She knows it will be hard but she has the goal to get married be baptized and go to the temple.

THATS WHY I AM HERE. Never in this short life I have lived have I felt so much love for so many people and the choices they are making and the changes that we are seeing in them. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ I have literally seen physical changes in people. A Light is surrounding their presence. Their voices are more joyful. There is more peace in the home. There is more promise in their future. There is constant love surrounding them and the people around them. These people are actually happy. The happiness that we are looking for is available to us….it is through Jesus Christ and his church, his principles and his teachings.

I just love seeing the outward joy people express by just walking in the church. I look around during sacrament and I see new converts or investigators just crying or closing their eyes and thinking and taking in these feelings that are available to us. With all the sincerity of my heart I can testify that Christ lives and loves us and this is the life he wants for us…a life of joy! These feelings we cant even describe……we have all felt them and we can continue to do so daily! And we can experience them every day if we just live the gospel of Jesus Christ and come unto him with a worthy heart and willing hands.

I love the missión. I love helping people change and in the process feeling myself change as well and my testimony strengthening. The reason I love this gospel is because it is SO clear and SO simple. Enjoy these blessings that you have and look around you and feel of God’s love for you.

Sadly we did get transfers and I am leaving…..I am going to Arroyito where I began, and I am going to be the senior comp to Hermana McDonald from Idaho. She is really cute and I am very excited…….and a little nervous. It will be a lot of responsibility since I need to be the one doing everything, but I have tons of faith and I know God is with me and is going to help me through it all. I LOVE YOU ALL! HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

Love Hermana Pond