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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25th, 2011

Family and Friends...

What a long week it has been! There were so many challenges and stressful times but some of the most spiritual moments of my mission!

Being back in BELLVILLE was a dream come true! I loved being in my old area and seeing old investigators, members, and converts. Monday night after we had switched we got to the apartment and Hermana Brown had forgotten to get the keys from Hermana Maters so we are in the freezing windy cold outside of our place locked out keyless, and I just got a package from my mom, so I was like wrapped in this bright pink fuzzy blanket and we were trying to flag down a cab...haha it was quite a sight to see. The other Hermanas had to travel all the way back to Bellville so we could get the keys and we all ended up sleeping there. Whoops! As we were waiting for them to travel it was like so late at night, and we had no where to go and so my comp said - do you want to go to Laura Cordobas....my convert family! So of course I said YESSSS please! We showed up at their door step - me like in all my poor winter clothes with my package and blanket all around me….haha how embarrassing! I have never seen anyone so happy in my life! First off......I was just beaming and got to hug Aida and Mariacielo and Nico all in my arms so tight and they were just so happy and surprised!!! We all bonded and played games and caught up on life and i gave them all fruit snacks from the states - they were a hit for the little kids…thanks mom! Finally the girls got there and we went home to bed.

The next few days were such a blast. I was so happy to be in Belleville with Hermana Brown - a different new one who is SO legit…..she knows Spanish so well and is like a super star cute missionary - AND met Dylan Higgenson in the MTC! We had bikes so it was way fun to cruise and teach together and learn a lot from each other. They have a good amount of progressing investigators and we got to talk to them and prep them for baptism. On Tuesday night was my favorite! We had a family home evening in the church with a way legit member Carolina, who is just way fierce, and the best teacher EVER……and Laura Cordoba and all of her family came to help and support with an investigator named Max. The whole time Laura and Nico were bearing their testimonies and sharing and talking so much and I was just so filled with joy and so happy to see how much they are progressing in the gospel. Laura is the best!

Also the next day we ate lunch with all their family and we taught the grandma – Aida, who is like my best friend ever, and we love each other - and she is still not a member so we decided since I was in town I needed to invite her to pray to know if the church is true and get baptized. Normally she is so stubborn and hard because she is so about traditions but she had no excuses and we all - me and my comp - and Laura - bore testimonies and promised her that if she would pray she would get an answer and get baptized! She committed to do it and I sad that maybe if she and her little girl Mikaella get baptized I can get permission to go! It was such a good spirit guided and inspired lesson. My trip was way short but so worth it, and I learned a lot from the Hermana Brown, and so it was way fun. It was a long 5 hour trip back to my area and it was really good to meet up with my cute comp and reunite - we really did miss each other...after being together 24-7 for 3 months straight we feel sad being split up for like 3 days haha.

After I got back it was a little stressful because we had a baptism to plan for Saturday. The elders came and interviewed Raquel and she was just glowing and so ready and excited for her baptism! We love her so much! The next day we had a lesson with Carmen and she is still progressing a ton, and we brought the bishop to get her stoked for her big day and answer and questions she had about the ward and such. She is so perfect - she gets along with everyone I swear! That night we also had an appointment with Mayra who still is kind of struggling and we took Marilyn our recent convert to help us and she was a STAR! She was so cute and on time in front of the church all ready to go with her Book of Mormon and Principles of the Gospel, and ready to teach. We got in and she gave such a sincere heart felt testimony of her conversion story and told about how she made the decision to get baptized. The spirit was so powerful and clear and I think it really impacted Mayra hearing Marilyn’s story. Love recent converts!

Then Saturday the baptism was a MESS. Raquel and her mom were the first ones there and only Juan Joe and Elle came to support. Our mission leader didn’t even come, and did nothing to help - we prayed for love and charity for him because it was a little frustrating! No one was there to be witnesses or give talks and it was just SO sad. Thanks to Juan Joe he literally saved the day and called a ton of people and members came and we started an hour and a half late, but it ended up being one of the most special baptisms EVER! Hermano Valera gave such a good talk and we watched a great video on Christ and Raquel’s really rebellious drug addicted son ended up coming and supporting and it was just so perfect in the end. She looked so beautiful all in white and was just glittering with happiness and light! She was so ready to get baptized and it was so powerful to just know and see her growth since I got here in this area. She has received all her own answers and made all the decisions on her own and for herself. She has truly converted herself. At the end Marilyn got up and the room was so still - she has only been baptized for a month but just gave such a perfect testimony, and the whole room was like weeping! She said she wants to go on a mission someday and help others find the truth and feel the things that she has felt since she met the missionaries and came into the ward. She said she has the faith her whole family will convert someday and go to the temple and she testified of eternal families, and it truly was just one of those moments that was so beautiful, and I just was thinking about all the problems and stress and things that went wrong, but in the end...in that exact specific moment...I would be no where else...it was all worth it……and so beautiful to share such a life changing moment with Raquel and her family! I feel so blessed to be the one to see their growth and help them strengthen their testimonies and learn more of the savior. What a blessing it is to be a missionary! How could anyone not feel HONORED and PRIVILEGED to have this sacred calling that we carry...to only give up a year or two to bring souls unto Christ……I couldn’t think of anything as worth while and rewarding as this.

After the baptism it was really hard because we had so much opposition and we know that whenever there is good there is always bad. All of our investigators we were teaching like all dropped us in one day....it was really discouraging and so heart-breaking. As many spiritual and happy moments in the mission we witness and have, there is also so much sadness and let down because so many people CHOOSE to not accept our message - not accept Christ, and live his way to be happy and its just so hard because we know that they will have to suffer the consequences of these decisions that they are making right now because they are not CHOOSING good. Whether it is anger, sadness, laziness, judgement, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, or whatever the reason can be - people everyday are CHOOSING with their agency the wrong way and the things of the world - denying and rejecting the truths that we bring to their door steps, into their homes, and in their hearts. I have been studying ALOT this week - with this repetitive pattern I have been seeing especially this week - agency and choices and good and evil. As I have studied in the scriptures it is just so evident and clear to us when the Lord has invited us to always do good and that like it describes in Alma 32:27 & 28 that if we arise and have this interest and wonder and experiment the things we are taught and have that faith - desire to believe and let that desire work in us-we will begin to believe and we will FEEL that the things we are asked to do are good and it is compared to a seed -when we plant a good seed and it feels good and right and it grows in our souls - then it is good! It will enlighten our understanding and it will become delicious unto us. Can we not hearken unto these clear teachings in the scriptures and plant that good seed to continually do good and choose good and know that like it says in D & C chapt 8: 4 that this is our gift and we must APPLY UNTO IT. I love the counsel it give us in Deuteronomy chapt 30: 15-20 stating...

See I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil....in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God to walk in his ways and to keep his commandments...and the Lord God shall BLESS you!

Yes we understand and it is evident that this life is hard and we do have tons of trials and problems and temptations but something we do know of more clearly and truthfully is that THERE IS A WAY to overcome them and CHOOSE God and CHOOSE His way and CHOOSE happiness. Why are we making the decisions right now that are not making us happy....why is it so much easier to CHOOSE evil...

There is a quote I love in the last conference by Packer that states...

"Everyone is tested - one might think it is unfair to be singled out and subjected to a particular temptation, but this is the purpose of mortal life - to be tested - we must and we can resist temptation of any kind"

I love the example of Moses in Moses Chapter one when he was tempted by Satan but he boldly states in verse 18 saying..."I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him - for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee."

We must CHOOSE who to follow and know that when we CHOOSE God - we are eternally blessed. He has promised us in James chapt 1: 12 that "blessed is the man that endures temptation - for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."

Let us open our eyes to the evidence and simple truths that we know - let us follow the promptings we are given to "Come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord - ye come for all ye have gone astray, every one to his wicked ways." 2 nephi 12:5

As we make the CHOICE to follow God and his way and keep his commandments and strive to become like him - we are not only going to receive the blessings he has promised us but we also will be the hope and promise to others so they can see our shining examples of living lives of righteousness and happiness and they will come to understand that we must CHOOSE this day to follow our Lord Jesus Christ. I love this gospel with all my heart and I feel so blessed to have the gift of agency to make decisions for myself of how I want to be and feel and live my life. I pray and hope that we all avoid the easiest most convenient ways of the world and that we CHOOSE to step up and be believers of God and live and follow his way always! I love you ALL!

Love, Hermana Pond
Monday July 18th, 2011

Family and Friends!

What a wonderful week it has been! First off last Sunday I had to give a talk and I was asked like a few days earlier to give it and I was so stoked thinking it would be on like missionary work or on the Savior and I was just thinking money...it will be great. But then the secretary gave me this talk and said I had to talk about supporting the bishop....I was like what – haha - so random what could I possibly say that would be so inspiring and good about that....so I prayed hard and studied the talk and right before I got up to give it during sacrament I just prayed that someone at church this day would feel the spirit really strongly and be inspired by something I say. Later that week we passed for a member’s house, and she is a widow mother with a daughter who is 18 and has a boyfriend who is not a member and she is really struggling right now and feels really lost in her life. The mom said in sacrament during my talk – I shared a story, a personal story about how talking to my bishop once really inspired and helped me in my life, and led me to the decision to go on a mission - and Sammy the girl during my talk felt really emotional and impressed to talk to the bishop in the ward and together they felt that she should go on a mini mission for 2 months! Her mom was so thrilled and near tears and said that she knows this is what the lord wants for her daughter and she was so grateful that the spirit could talk to her in the moment to help her make these decisions in her life. It was great!

Also this week my comp and I decided to fast because we want more revelation and help with some specific investigators. Right when we started we got rejected by like 2 people and then these 2 girls that we just put baptism dates with their mom told us they couldn’t. I felt so weak and sad and wondering why when we finally make the decision to sacrifice a little more the trials continue to come. As I started losing the faith and getting discouraged, my comp pulled out a scripture in Ether 12:12 talking about having the faith to see miracles and shared it with this mom and committed her to pray and really think about her daughters baptisms and to decide if they should do it. At the end of the lesson the spirit was strong and we were all sitting in silence when the mom looked at us and said...¨Who sent you to come here...¨ we both looked at each other and told her that we had felt that we should pass because they weren’t in our plans but the spirit told us to pass and they were home so we did. With slight tears in her eyes after a bit of silence she looks up and told us that she had been praying to God to send her a miracle and help her because she had been confused and praying for answers right when we came to the door. This lady is very inactive and has 2 daughters that are not members so we really want to help activate her and baptize the rest of her family. Her husband is not a member so that’s why there are so many problems right now because he wants the daughters to be baptized in the Catholic Church, and she is afraid to ask him to be baptized in this church. We committed her to pray and like it teaches in the scriptures when we act with our faith and press forward and do the things that we know to be true we will be blessed and then THE MIRACLES will come. It was a really neat spiritual experiences and it was just another confirming testimony to me that God does answer our prayers and even when we feel like we have given everything……given our all, and we are sacrificing and want to give up, God will always give us the strength and faith to press forward and to always have the chance to see miracles.

Later that night while we were still fasting, we had the chance to go to Carmen - my fave - and we took 2 members, Alejandra and Lucas with us. It was SO perfect because both of them are such strong members and friends with Carmen, and Carmen’s spouse just died and Lucas has lost both of his parents and Alijandra has lost her mom and sister. We talked the whole time about temples and what a blessing it is in the gospel to have the opportunity to do temple work. Each one bore such powerful strong life changing stories about how the gospel has strengthened them in their lives and the promises of seeing their family members after this life and how much peace and joy it brings them. We were all SO emotional and never in my life have I heard such powerful testimonies of love and hope and appreciation about the temple. Carmen’s eyes were just glistening and you could just tell she was so excited to go to the temple someday! We gave her a picture of the temple to put on her fridge to always have that as her goal and to always remember that her and her husband - through the temple - can be together forever.

Even more than ever I have such a deep appreciation and love for the temple. It is such a sacred and perfect and celestial place, and I don’t think we understand HOW LUCKY we are to have them and that we have made the covenants that we have inside and how responsible we are to go regularly to visit the temple. There are so many members in different areas that save up yearly and dream they will enter the temple someday, if they can find the money and time to get work off and hope to just attend the temple one time... what a BLESSING it is to have temples to us so close, and how privileged we are to attend it as much as we possibly can. I cannot wait to come home and enter into the house of the Lord and feel of his love for me and feel that much closer to the heavens. I really hope we can all be doing all we can to find time weekly to go to the temple, to show our gratitude and love to our father in heaven and do the work we have promised to do in this earth life in the temple.

Friday morning we just woke up weak and so tired. We really had done this fast for a girl named Mayra and we still hadn’t found her! We felt really strongly we should pass in the morning, which was weird because we never normally did that but we felt inspired so we passed right before lunch. She was home! We got in and decided to watch ¨To This End Was I Born¨. The movie was so powerful and by the end we were all crying just to really see and witness what Christ went through for us. At the end me and my comp just literally poured out our hearts to this 16 year old girl and bore sincere heart felt testimonies of the Savior and his sacrifice for us. Even though we were fasting, never in my life had I felt so much energy and power in one moment….completely reliant on the spirit. I looked this girl in the eyes just feeling like this was the last thing I could do to help her. I told her we prayed, fasted, and studied and worked so hard for her, because she is a daughter of God and so loved. He wants the best for her and because of that we are willing to do anything as missionaries for her to help her find her own testimony of the Savior, and come unto him and choose his way. It was really intense and we were all just SO moved and emotional and I think it really just impacted us all talking about how crucial it is for us to CHOOSE CHRIST because of all the pain and sorrow he went through for us.

Saturday was an activity in the church for Relief Society, and we took Raquel, and Marilyn and the members were so welcoming and great and loving and the theme was so cute and we all got little golden crowns and talked about how we were daughters of a king, and everyone was emotional and hugging and I think the girls really loved it and were so moved! Saturday night we went to the Familia Domingez and they had this little cute party dinner all set up for Carmen and we all ate together and it was so fun. Carmen was really happy about it! I love them all!

Sunday was pure miracles! Tons of in-actives came to church and Raquel and Carmen came for all 3 hours, and RUBEN the husband of Raquel came in for the last two hours BY HIMSELF! That alone was such a miracle. They also announced the baptisms of Raquel and Carmen in church for this coming weekend so that was really exciting and everyone was so cute about it and talking to them about it after! Also after church we went to a members house and she invited her neighbor over whose little granddaughter that was just a new born is having heart problems and she is really struggling. The member Liliana bore her testimony of the blessings of the gospel and we taught her about the plan of salvation and talked to her a lot about Christ! It was so good and she said she wants her husband to listen to us and come to church one Sunday! At the end she was talking about how good she felt inside - like so much peace in her heart and she had never ever felt it before! She had felt the spirit and we were so grateful that we could have this spiritual experience with her and we are excited to keep working with her!

Also this week I am going on intercambios with Hermana Brown - a different Hermana Brown -to BELLVILLE! I am sooo excited to go back and visit everyone and work over there for a dew days! Also I heard one of my first favorite converts Laura is doing SO well and gave such a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and her conversion story in church recently, and she just got a calling to be the relief society counselor!!! We also had interviews with president and it was just so moving to me and I just love the mission so much and all my leaders and the work and seeing the love and joy and miracles in the mission! My mission president told me I have grown so much and as I talked to him about the work and my testimony we were both close to tears because we were just so happy to talk about what CHANGES the gospel brings to our lives not just investigators and converts but to missionaries and members and the changes are so worth it and so edifying in the end. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL……and I love everything I am learning in the mission!!!!!! I love all of you and hope you all have a good week!

Love, Hermana Pond

Friday, July 15, 2011

Monday July 12th, 2011

Good day family and friends!

So this week has been pretty nuts I might say. We have been planning for this huge ward activity like everyday, so its taken up a lot of our time……..but it was really fun and ending up being a huge success.

First of all we have these like speakers in the church and so while we were cooking ALL morning Saturday and making empanadas…..all of the sudden we heard someone turn on music and it was Justin Beiber!!!! hahahaha - me and my comp freaked out and ran into the sacrament room...yes this was all taking place there....and we just sang along and were going crazy and dancing SO much and by the end we were like tired- haha - I hadn’t danced forever - it made me miss all the good old dance parties, but all the youth came running in to watch what we were doing and they were like concerned- hahaha - and said -you guys dance like that in the states?? How embarrassing....it was so fun though! It felt good to sing to some good old ¨baby baby baby ohhhhh¨ haha- Justin Beiber and just party. Also they were playing Gasolina by Daddy Yankee and all this wild music because it was a talent show, and all the youth girls wanted to dance so they kept playing it over and over…….it was nuts! I couldn’t believe all the wildness in the church!

The activity was great! All of our investigators came and they even helped us make all the empanadas because it was like only us, so it ended up being a group effort but a lot of fun. All the men also played soccer like always, and then the talent show was a HIT! All the younger girls danced to Arabian music with these like intense costumes and the parents just loved it and then some other youth did karaoke and the Relief Society did a skit, and everyone was like in tears laughing…..it was SO funny! I sang Miley Cyrus - The Climb- with an investigator……it was fun! After everyone left though, we were cleaning, and my comp ended up getting so sick - I felt so bad because she already had a fever and a cold and with all the work and cleaning and music and noisy kids and action, she couldn’t take it and was like crying and way in pain…..so she got a blessing and I took her home and took care of her……poor girl.

So some miracles we saw this week! First was with the family Zapata, who are an incomplete family and inactive…….we have been trying to work with the mom who is a member and her two daughters - Milagros and Sabrina, who are 9 and 14. They are so cute, and love us and we love them as well as the mom and they have really been progressing! They have been reading and praying, and Wednesday they both came to the English class and got along with all the members and loved it! We also taught them such a powerful lesson 1, and committed both to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and their mom shared her story and was emotional giving her testimony to her daughters, and there was just such a sweet spirit present. They also all came to the activity and Milagros danced and Sabrina sang and the mom loved it too and was bonding with all the members! Sabrina said she prayed and felt really good and Milagros is just SO energetic and said loves it all, and wants to get baptized! They are just such a special family to me and my comp and its been such a blessing to be able to see the mom come back to the church and help her daughters learn about the gospel!

We also have been visiting the family More’ a lot to teach Marlilyn all of the lessons after her baptism. Monday night we took President Funes, who is the president of the branch, and it was honestly one of the most spiritual lessons I have been in. We taught Raquel, Marilyn, and the dad was there! Literally the president was just so guided by the spirit and said so many things that they needed to hear! He shared his conversion story and testified of the promised blessings we are given in the gospel. He talked about programs that the church offers for their son who is only 17 and is heavily addicted to drugs and drinking and it is just killing their family to see him go through this. He also talked about how they can see their baby Christian - who was born and passed away just a few days later - someday again, and truly everyone was just so silent and still and president had no idea this had happened to them in their family but when he brought up the subject, and they told the story he explained so poetically and clearly the plan of salvation and how their son Christian is still present in their lives and a part of their family and their specific guardian angel and they will be able to see him again someday. I just had the chills and everyone had tears in their eyes and the next day as we taught Marilyn she told us she had recently been having dreams about her brother Christian, and seeing him and had asked her mom about it and president answered her question right when it had all happened. It was such a spiritual moment…..I truly am so grateful for the spirit and it was just such a moment of a testimony to me that God is always guiding us through the spirit on what we need to say at the right time - when and where and for whom- and how much through that spirit we can help others come unto the gospel and the knowledge and testimony that we have.

As many really inspired and uplifting lessons and experiences we have had this week we have also had our hard ones. We are working a lot with girls and women and it has just been so hard because-especially this week - I have seen how much discrimination, peer pressure, lack of confidence, and worldly vanity we as women have to deal with daily. We, as beautiful strong virtuous daughters of God, often forget who we really are and are so easily influenced and moved by the worldly things rather than spiritual. It matters so much to these girls how much they have, or what they look like, or what they do to be considered accepted and especially what they wear to spark others attention and to act and do things against our beliefs to make us feel like we are truly loved and appreciated and cared for. I have been studying it and pondering on the subject a lot this week, and I have been so spiritually impacted by how crucial and how important it is as we, as women, be strong and be examples to others and stick up for the things that we know to be true and be confident not only in ourselves but especially in our Father in Heaven who created us as his special precious daughters and loves us very much for who we personally are and not for what others think of us. I love in the scriptures in Jacob 2 verse 7 when it is talking about how God’s daughters are chaste tender and delicate and that all these attributes are pleasing to him. Why is it so hard for us to remember how much God loves us and how truly beautiful we really are....

We need to be examples of the believers like it states in 1 Timothy 4 verse 12:
Be thou example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.

Although the temptations of the world might come and they will seem appealing on the outside like it describes in 2 Nephi 8 about the large and spacious building, we need to remember that like it talks about in 1 Nephi 17 verse 3 and if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them and strengthen them - and through this obedience like Jesus promised his disciples in John 8 verses 31 and 32 - if you continue in my word...then you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. When we follow the commandments of God and are true examples of the believers and have confidence in ourselves and God then in the end we become more free, and are able to enjoy the blessings of the gospel freely!

I can testify that every single commandment we are given, whether small or great, is for our benefit, and we will be blessed and find true happiness when we follow them and stay on the path of righteousness. This will lead us to eternal life and back to the presence of our Father in Heaven who loves us each specifically for every part of us inside and out. I know that we are promised the support and help that we need to receive the strength to always press forward and continue in this path of righteousness-we have our families, our friends, members, leaders in the church, the Holy Ghost - our constant companion, our Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement, and the angels that surround the heavens like it states clearly in D & C
84 verse 88 and whoever receives you there I will be also for I will go before your face. I will be your right hand and on your left and my spirit shall be in your hearts and mine ANGELS round about you to bear you up.

I have felt of this power and support of the heavens open up to me personally and I can promise that with these angelic heavenly powers that we are given - anything is possible and we can overcome any discouragement or temptation that we are faced with in this life, because our Heavenly Father does love us as his children and wants us to become and meet that potential and standards that await us, being a Heavenly daughter……a queen, crowned with virtue righteousness and glory. I invite you all to follow the counsel in D & C 87 verse 8 and stand ye in holy places and be not moved and prepare yourselves to meet again your Heavenly Father and king someday with open arms of love and gratitude and to be able to tell him that you have fought the good fight and finished your course.

I love you all and love this gospel with all my heart and can boldly testify without a doubt in my heart that this is the true church of God. Hope you have a good week!

Love Hermana Pond

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 4th, 2011

Dear family and friends!

Happy 4th of july! Its funny because this week on the 9th of July is the Day of Independence for Argentina……so its weird celebrating and thinking of both ! I am very excited because we are having a ward activity on Saturday for Independence Day and we are going to be eating empanadas and wearing all Argentina get up and having a talent show! So we are way stoked about that. Also we got transfers and…we are both staying! Me and my comp, Hermana Mcdonald, and we are way happy because we both love it here and love the Ward and are both so close to them, and all our investigators and we get to celebrate her 9 month and my birthday together so it will be fun! 6 more weeks in Candyland/such a party! Its so funny too because this is the first time in my whole missión i have not had changes so it will be interesting to just stay and i think its good because then you dont have to get used to someone else or warm up to the members and people/we both are just way happy and content here and working hard and know the area and everyone! So that’s good.

So something funny…..this week I stubbed my toe sooooo hard - it was just dramatic…we were walking in the streets and I am usually so awkward and clumsy and always falling anyways but this time was just like death we were walking and i literally was near curse words…not really…but it was sooooooo painful, and I looked down and I swore I had like split my toe in half and it was all bleeding, and we had to go to a members house to fix it ☹. Uhhhh - my toe had like a heart beat all day it was terrible and i was such a gimp all day I like couldn’t walk, and when we would cross the streets I would hobble slash awkwardly gallop across just looking like a fool and my comp just made fun of me….I am sure that would happen to me! Dang! And of course we are leaving a members house one day and here in Argentina every time you enter or leave anywhere you have to go around and beso/kiss everyone (except the men, of course being a missionary)…and I was in a members house going around to kiss her goodbye and of course a HUGE ROCK is in their house on the ground….not sure why…and I stub my toe again….it was terrible - I like cried and laughed, because that WOULD happen to me with my luck. Love life.

Like always it has been a week of miracles! One day we were walking in the streets and we had just left a less active members house from having a lesson with her, and as we were walking in the street this lady was passing us, and I just gave her the biggest smile and she looked at me like she knew me and stopped us. She said “Oh my gosh! Missionaries!!!” and she seemed like she was going to cry and she talked about how years ago missionaries came to her house and she loved their chats and felt so peaceful with them and after many years later she hasn’t seen them again and wondered if there were still some in her area, and that day she had been praying in her heart to God and hoping she could find the missionaries in this area to start up the chats and lessons again! It was such a spiritual and neat experience for me and really a confirming testimony that God does indeed answers all of his children’s prayers, and we literally are put right in the paths of those people that are looking for us, and need us to share the gospel.

Also this guy named Dario we found like 2 weeks ago and he is so cool…he is like 23 and he is SO nice and so open to learn and not like everyone else where all they say is that they are Catholic or God is the same for everyone and they think all religions are the same. He has really good questions and is really bright and could truly progress, but of course his problem is he doesn’t believe in the importance of churches and going to church each week, and he has had a bad experience with church he grew up with when he was younger, so he hated it and felt really uncomfortable, and felt everyone was fake and so he said he will never go again to another church. But he is so great and he read the restoration and prayed twice on his knees, and asked if it’s true! He is still waiting on his answer but we were just so stoked he did his commitments and we presented the B of M and invited him to read and pray about it so we will see how it all goes with him next week!

Also we are still working with Carmen who I LOVE! She is the one that the aunt of the recent convert Hermana Domínguez and recently her husband died and she lives alone, and this week we had a ton of good member lessons with her in the houses of like 3 different members and its so good because she is SO loving and likeable and knows and gets along with everyone……so that’s always fun. One day we didn’t have her in our plans and we randomly decided to go pass for her and when we showed up she told us that she had been praying and hoping that we would show up at her house that day and just had a feeling we would and right then….we showed up! It is so amazing how the spirit works! We got in and talked about baptism and she is getting really excited about it and really is preparing for her big day! She loves all the members and us and always talks about how before when her husband was sick and in bed for like 5 years she never had the time to dedicate herself to something like this, and she is really grateful for this time in her life to give it her all and really find true happiness. And the Miracle with her was that on Sunday…we showed up at her house and she was SO cute…..all dressed and ready for church, and we were like the first ones there – haha - and she went for all 3 hours and loved it, and it was testimony meeting and like 2 people talked about her in their testimonies, so it was great and she was really happy. So we are really happy about her and can’t wait for her baptismo!

We are still working with the mom of Marilyn and its been so frustrating because she is so unsure and wants to wait and has so much fear and its just been so hard trying to help her just be bold and trust in God and make the decision for herself.

I have been studying a lot about the spirit and about receiving answers to our questions and it’s been very interesting. Something that I loved is we read a scripture to her in D & C 9:7-8, and its truly one of my favorite scriptures because its so clear! In the beginning it talks about how we could ever expect answers to our questions when we are not actually asking for them CLEARLY, and that we also need to be brave and have the faith and trust to make a decision and take it and then if it is right we will FEEL it, and know that it is good. I also love the scripture in 2 nephi 28: 30 where it says how we receive things line upon line and precepto by precepto and we cant just be expecting to get all the answers we want at once! We compared asking God for answers to our questions to someone asking you for a glass of water at your house. If they come in and sit down and ask you for a glass of water and you give it to them you would want them to drink it. What if they just kept asking you for another glass of water over and over and this first one was just sitting in front of them….of course you would want them to pick that one up that you first kindly gave them and drink it before they can receive more. Receiving answers from God is just the same…if we truly do want it we need to do our part and be willing to do our part and work for it and then when we receive it, we then need to take that answer and act and then we can be given more and more each time. It is a process…but we always need to willing and ready and receptive to what we are given. I also love in Doctrine & Covenants 82 verse 10 that clearly states …

“I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say but when ye do not what I say ye have no promise.”

Our heavenly father does love us and wants to communícate with us and has made us the PROMISE that he will do his part if we do ours. We need to always be obedient and willing to be constantly in tune and receptive to the whisperings of the spirit so we know what is God’s will and what he wants for us. Any kind of decision we are going to make each day whether it be what we are going to do one day or who we should call or what school we should go to, or if we should go on a missión or who should be marry or where we should move, or any kind of decision big or small, we are going to make….I challenge everyone to get on your knees and converse and talk to your Heavenly Father and also make the choice that you want and tell him that you are going to do it, and continue in that path and move forward in faith, and have that confidence in yourself and God and then I can promise you that you will FEEL something and through those feelings you will receive of very clear and living confirmation in your heart that it is good and you are making the right choice. I am so grateful for modern day revelation and I can testify to each of you that God our Heavenly Father does live and it is truly up to us DAILY to communícate and work with him and really apply his Heavenly Powers in our mortal lives because I personally have seen this type of power and inspiration and light in my life. I hope that each person can find and use these wonderful powers we are given in our day to open up those Windows of heaven so we can receive those insights and impressions and direction from our loving Father in Heaven and receive the blessings that he has waiting for us. I thank all of you for your love and support daily and know I truly do have such a strong testimony of this church that was perfectly restored for us today to enjoy and embrace the blessings of the everlasting gospel. Hope you all have a good week!

Love Hermana Pond
Monday June 27th, 2011

Dear family and friends…

What a crazy Fast week! I cant even tell you how shocked that i am that we are already at the last week before transfers…I feel like I just got here! Time just flys. It has been way fun though - I have really enjoyed my time here…I just love everyone in this area and I feel so at home.

So first things first - I went to an Argentine dentist this morning…its was sooo weird and it made me trip out because I haven’t been to the dentist in over ten months now. I have been trying to look for a legit place to go for weeks and we finally found this cute lady who had this nice little place and its like in her house - haha - its weird - but she did way good and it all worked out. It was cheap too, which was nice….. now I am just hoping it stays in this cavity because my tooth was turning gray and it looked so poor….. I was so over it.

So this week has been intense because as you all know we have been working with More family since I got here, and both the mom and the daughter had a fecha for this weekend the 25th of June, and we were just SO stoked and they were very ready and all was well. But of course just like it states clearly in the scriptures in 2 Nephi 2:11 that there indeed is an opposition in all things and so of course when we are about to hit our highest potential and do something great and succeed, Satan comes around and fills our minds and hearts with doubts discouragement and fear and it is up to us on how we handle those situations and obstacles and feelings. So we had been passing by almost daily to get this family stoked and pumped for their baptism and we even had a noche de hogar with all their family in the house of a member and they just dropped it on us that they didn’t feel ready and they wanted to wait. I was just so depressed and sad, and couldn’t believe it! So we tried keeping up our spirits and told them that we were still going to have the elders come the next day-positive intent- faith - law of attraction…love it…to do their interviews and we were hoping that would help and that would show that they were ready.

So on Thursday all the zone and district leaders came to our area for the whole day to help us with our and interviews for all our investigators to see who is ready for baptism, and when they had already come and were working in our area during lunch I got a call from Raquel the mom and she said they couldn’t do the interview and I was just so sad and upset and confused, and wondering why this was all happening so I told here they were already here and we would just stop by for 30 minutes and she finally agreed and we hung up. We were at lunch with my favorite family and even though we were there I just couldn’t concentrate or talk to anyone because I was so confused and so stressed, and worried about everything that was going on. I felt bad because everyone was all chipper and talking…including my comp…and I just had to do something. We opened up to the scriptures and I shared one of my favorite parts in the Doctrine & Covenants with them……chapter 121 verses 7 and 8. I was just near tears as I read the comforting letters to Joseph Smith from God the Father that peace be unto his soul and that his afflictions would be but a small moment, and if he could endure it well he would endure. Hermana Barbosa then shared with me something she has always loved in the Bible in Revelations I think its in chapter 7 near the end of the chapter, but its talking about all the people of the world of every color, every language speaking corner and country of the World being and reuniting together all Dressed in White and with Jesus Christ and those people there are the ones who have overcome and conquered their trials and hard times THROUGH the atonement of Jesus Christ on the Earth, and he has been the one that will dry the tears from our eyes.

9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, what are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they?
14 And he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
17For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

I was just so moved by both of these scriptures and just pictured Joseph Smith the prophet of God just wondering why he was feeling so left alone and how long would he have to endure this pain and hardship and trial and suffering and I just could hear those words of my Heavenly Father telling me peace be unto your soul…there is also a part in chapter 122 of D & C that talks about… the Son of man hath descended below all things art thou greater than he…

And I just thought of the things that Christ suffered for me…….and how could I ever feel that something I was going through was above he and that I wasn’t able to endure it…so I was just so inspired in this moment and I just decided to let go of all my fears and sadness and doubts and put them into God and Christ’s hands and will and leave it all up to them, and whatever was meant to be I was willing to follow. So after this lunch we went over to their house with the Elders and they got interviewed and passed and as both came out Raquel said she wanted to wait and Marilin the daughter said she was going to pray about it and think about still doing it on her own. So the next day we passed and had just been praying with all our might and hearts hoping she would get an answer to still get baptized on Saturday and we really just tried to keep up the faith.

As we passed around 4 pm on Friday with some members, Raquel still seemed unsure about it and wanted to wait because her husband wants her too and then it was truly a miracle Marilyn comes out and is like yes I am still getting baptized tomorrow…AHHH! We all just Looked at each other and were near tears! We got all her papers signed out and she asked if Lucas could do it and I honestly have never seen anyone so happy! His story is amazing…..he is a convert of a year and his dad died when he was 9 and his mom like 7 months ago and he is an only child so he is so alone in his life and was way inactive for a while, but cleaned up and is way active now and worthy to do the Baptism!!! He is such a stud. Also the dad was there so we got to bond with him and invite him. After me and my comp walked out we literally took off running in the streets like holding hands together and singing life gave me lemonade – haha- it was honestly like a movie…..we have just never been so happy!!!!!’

So Saturday came around and the baptism was PERFECT! There were tons of members that came to support, and lots of her family and friends, and the spirit was so strong, and her and her mom was just bawling (happy tears) after when everyone was hugging her and welcoming her in the ward! It was SO tender!!! Then Sunday was way spiritual when she received the Holy Ghost and it was such a miracle and her DAD came!!!

So it was just such an amazing week!!!! Tiring but SO worth it - we were just SO happy and Marilyn is just shining!!!! I love this work so much with all my heart and let me tell you it is just exhausting, and very hard and discouraging and challenging at times but when it comes down to that day and you are able to see that person you have been working with for weeks or months all dressed in white, with just tears rolling down their cheeks, yes and just a shiny bright smile and countenance….every single part is worth it! I love being a missionary and love helping people come to understand and find the truth and happiness in this life! I love you all and hope you are having a good week! LOVE YOU MUCHO!!

Love, Hermana Pond