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