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