August 29th, 2011
Dearest family and friends,
Happy week! Just like always - another week has already gone by way fast, and so much has gone down. First of all my zone is really intense this transfer, and we are trying to work super hard and sacrifice more so we can have more success and see more baptisms, so we are working all day today for P-Day! So I don’t have much time to write, but I hope I can express my feelings of the week in a short time…. because we all know that’s hard for me…haha - but so much has happened!
So first off at the beginning of the week we passed for a reference that we got from a recent convert - Carmen! It was a lady that has a 2-year-old son and recently found out he has cancer, and he is going through chemotherapy and they are really poor and it’s very sad. We passed for her and she was way cute and open and let us in. We taught her about the Atonement and plan of salvation and why hard times and suffering happen in this life, and how we can overcome them. We sang her the hymn - Abide With Me Tis Even Tide - and we left her with a prayer and she was really teary in the end, and I think the spirit really touched her. She committed to read something we left her and we are definitely excited to pass and teach her again.
We also were walking in a neighborhood one day, and I felt really impressed that we needed to pass for a lady named Ignacia, because she was on the way to our next cita. As we got to her door she said she had no time at all to attend us and was in a hurry but the spirit kept telling me that we really needed to pass. I was so confused, because I just felt so strongly we needed get in and talk to her, but I had no idea why…..so I followed the impression and told her it would be really short and that we just really needed to pass. After about five minutes being in her house she stepped out because someone came to the door and as she came back in her eyes were filled with tears, and she told us she just found out that a family member had passed away. In this moment she would have been all alone if we hadn’t come, but we were able to hug and comfort her and sang her a song, and left her with a prayer. She was so thankful to us as we left for being there for her in that moment and helping her feel the comfort she needed.
We also were walking around an area close to where we live and as we were running to an appointment, I saw this bright pink house on a corner, and since my comp. is new in the field and in Argentina I felt it would be good to do some practices of contacting and knocking doors. We found ourselves talking to this cute older lady who lives alone and she let us in right away. We got talking to her and found out that just a few weeks ago her grandson who lived with her for eight years passed away in a motorcycling accident, and she was so upset about it and it has been so hard for her to overcome this. We talked to her about the plan of salvation and about the Atonement and through Christ she can overcome this trial and find peace as she becomes healed from her afflictions. My comp. earlier that morning had found a really good scripture in the bible - John 14:27 that says
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
She shared a story about how when she lost a loved one in her life and how hard it was, but how she was able to go to God and Christ in her times of trial and trouble, and they gave her peace and comforted her and helped her overcome her situation. She testified so clearly of the gospel, and it was just so powerful to see the spirit speaking through her with love and concern for this lady. It made me think about when I first got into the missión and how I couldn’t say anything in their language, and it was so frustrating, but every time I prayed for the gift of discernment and the spirit I was about to communícate so clearly with the people and they were able to understand me. I love being able to train because it truly is so neat to be able to witness those first few powerful moments and lessons in the field with someone and how much they grow in just a few days.
We also taught David again this week - the 18 year old - and I seriously love him - he is so precious! We talked about repentance and the importance of baptism, and how baptism is the only way he can be completely clean from all of his sins and repent and start a new life following and being a disciple of Christ! We invited him to the baptism Friday and he ended up coming!!!! It was so great….I really hope and pray he will be able to make the decision to change his life and become a member of the church.
Friday we had the BAPTISM of Mayra!!!! It was so spiritual and so perfect. One of the most chill baptisms I have ever had where it all went pretty smooth and a ton of people came. She had a lot of support from the youth. Her best friend who introduced her to the church spoke and was SO emotional because she has been waiting so long for her to get baptized and she always hoped and prayed that she would make the decision for herself and she finally did and just expressed how happy and grateful and proud of her she was. I love Mayra so much, and I truly know that miracles can happen if we truly just work so hard and have faith -I have been working with this girl forever and I seriously wanted to give up so many times but we just kept fasting and praying and sacrificing everything for her and she made it. There can be miracles!
Sunday morning we got to church and there was a guy outside that I had never seen before. He was alone and smoking and was crying L. We went out and talked to him, and ended up hearing about his story and how he is addicted to smoking and drinking and has had it, and is willing to do anything to change his life, so he came to the church. We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and out there in front of the church committed him to prepare for baptism. He knows its going to be hard, and we told him its going to require a lot of work and trials and sacrifice, but we promised him he could do it with the help and strength of God. He went to all 3 hours of church - and by the time it was all over, he looked so much better and happier and full of light and expressed to us how much he already felt the change beginning in his life. He was so happy!
Sunday during church one of my recent converts – Raquel - came up to me and fell into my arms, and began to bawl, because her son got in a knife fight the night before, and had been doing drugs and had all these problems, and she was just so sad about him. She pleaded for us to get the bishop and other leaders and friends of her son to come over to her house to talk to him and help him. We all showed up and we all went around talking about our love and concern for him and especially his family and how if he really wants to change his life he needs to have the desire and start to act. It was so intense! 2 of his friends who are now members, who used to go out and deal drugs and drink, and had all the same problems that he has, bore their testimonies of the gospel and how it has COMPLETELY healed and changed their lives and how it can do the same to his. The whole family was crying so much and everyone was just bearing all their heart and soul and love to this 17- year-old boy so he could feel the importance and desire to change, so he and his family can have true happiness. Just in this moment I honestly realized - after hearing all of these stories - that the GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST is the only way that any person in this life can change and truly be happy. These members expressed how they tried everything before - rehabs, friends, counselors, therapy, medicines, doctors and everything the world out there has to offer to fix their problems, but the only time in their young lives where they felt completely full of true, pure, and rich joy was when they personally made the step and decision to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, repent of their past, entered into the waters of baptism and were baptized by someone holding the power and priesthood of God, and when they received the gift of the holy ghost by that same holy priesthood. They promised that it wasn’t until then - that moment - that they were given the happiness and blessings and protection and light and peace and joy and forgiveness that changed them forever.
There is a quote that I love that I found today in the Ensign by Elder Corbridge, speaking about this exact topic, and it states:
“No institution, plan, program, or system ever conceived by men has access to the redeeming and transforming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the gift of the holy ghost. Therefore, while the Lord’s invitation to follow him is the highest of all, it is also achievable by everyone, not because we are able, but because he is, and because he can make us able too. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ all mankind – everyone living and dead - may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”
We are so blessed to know the principles and ordinances of the gospel, and that only through following them, we can be saved. It is the only way that we will be happy. It is the only way to our salvation. And regardless of any type of situation we are in or going through - deaths of loved ones, illnesses, addictions, heartache, sadness, loneliness, depressión, worry, stress, or doubt - the gospel of Jesus Christ can fix them, and we - every single one of us - can be given peace - not from the world like it states in the scriptures - but true peace from God and Christ. I testify with all my heart and soul that I know that only through these steps we can be saved and return to our father in heaven and receive a place in the celestial kingdom to be with our families eternally and receive eternal life. This is the way and we need to follow it. There is no other. I hope that we are all making the decision every day to follow these steps that the gospel offers us and we are doing what we can so we can feel of Christ’s love and peace and overcome the hardships of our lives. I love you all with every bit of me and pray that we can all choose Christ and endure to the end so we can be with “Him…..who I will hold guiltless before my father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world. 3 Nephi 27:16
Love Hermana Pond