Monday September 12th, 2011
Family and Friends...
How is everyone?! I am so happy because it is really heating up here and I truly am just so stoked to be experiencing so much SUNSHINE...I missed it. So today for Pday was really fun - we came to San Fransisco to be with the elders in our district whom I LOVE - they are all pretty much Latin – haha - and so funny and we got together at this huge place out in the country and we played volleyball and rode our bikes there and had a huge lunch and it was super fun. We also had a zone conference...finally! It was Tuesday, and there was a member of the Quorum of the 70 there that spoke to us all – (Foster)- and it was so good and so spiritual! First off - the missionaries that are all leaving give their testimonies, and a ton of elders and sisters that I have gotten to know since I got here are all leaving and their testimonies were all so good and emotional...I cannot believe how fast the time goes…..by next zone conference I will be giving my goodbye testimony…..crazy!
Elder Foster spoke the whole conference about the importance of the members and how this is THEIR work and we are just here to assist them and to teach the people they find us. They want us to quick knocking doors and want us to have all of our lessons with a member present. I was way stoked because I totally agree. I feel like the missionaries in the field waste SO much time contacting and finding just by knocking on doors because we always schedule other appointments and they are never there and its just a cycle that is not successful. We need to start finding people to teach only through the MEMBERS and have lessons in their houses with them. He also talked a lot about the importance of prayer and how much we need to focus on our prayers and really communicate with our Heavenly Father and go to him for everything. we all sang “A Child’s Prayer,” all the missionaries in Spanish, and everyone was really emotional. It made me think about my baptism - when I sang this song - and it just made me so grateful for the simplicity of prayer and how my whole life in the gospel I have been raised to go to my Heavenly Father for everything, and that he will always be there to answer my prayers.
The wife of Elder Foster also spoke and told the cutest story about her grand daughter who is always afraid to shower because when she washes her hair she always puts her face down being afraid for the shampoo is going to go into her eyes and it stings…. the mom of this girl was always trying to help her understand that if she LOOKS UP and puts her head back, that the water and shampoo will all go down her back and not into her eyes and she will able to SEE CLEARLY and she will be okay. The little girl finally learned and was so happy and not ever afraid because her mom had taught her that if she always just looks up - everything will be okay. Sister Foster compared this story to prayer and how in the world we are always so afraid of all of the danger, pain, and hardships that come and we hide or look down but she was saying that if we always look up to the heavens, having faith, and we go straight to our Heavenly Father in humble prayer...he will be there to assist us and to help us and everything will be okay.
As I studied in the New Testament this week I really saw the Saviors perfect example to us and to always be looking up to the heavens to our Heavenly Father, with faith and love, and always giving thanks. I read the marvelous story in Mark chapter 6 when the disciples came to Christ with very little not knowing what to feed the multitude and in verse 41 states...and when he had taken the five loaves and two fishes, he LOOKED to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves.....verse 42 and they did all eat and they were filled. Also in chapter 7 of Mark when Christ does many miracles of making the deaf hear and the dumb speak before he performs the miracles it says in verse 34...and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said unto him, Ephphatha, that is, be opened. Christ is our perfect example and as he was in the earth and performing miracles he was always humbly looking straight up to the heavens to his father in heaven and always humbly giving thanks to him, looking for his guidance, and using his power to do good. I love the part in Mark Chapter 8 when Christ heals a blind man in Bethsaida and in verse 25 it states...and after he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him LOOK UP: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. I am so grateful that we have always been given the example from Christ to look up to the heavens and I know with his love for us and healing power - through mighty and thoughtful prayers to our Father in Heaven - we will always have the power of the heavens at hand and they will be guiding us in all that we do and if we are consistently looking up - we too will be able to see clearly.
This week we worked more with Ricardo and he still is struggling a lot with his addictions and has a hard time with self control and the will power but when we asked him what he is doing to be better day by day and how he is seeing a difference in his life he answered us saying.....”I just look up to God always and to the heavens and I know they will help me.....I just need to keep looking up. “I too can testify that looking up and relying on our Heavenly Father’s power that we can receive daily is the way we will improve and seek strength and a huge help in our lives. Like it states in D & C section 49 verse 23...wherefore, be not deceived, but continue in steadfastness, LOOKING forth for the heavens.
Just from learning and studying so much about prayer this week - I have really been strengthening and improving my prayers and have already been seeing the difference with all the miracles that we have been having just this week. We are still preparing Franco for baptism and he is pretty much teaching us all the lessons and knows so much. He is such a stud! Also we are still working with David and we watched the restoration with him and his family and we also taught his dad and we are seeing huge changes in all of them and they are reading and praying and doing way good. David is still nervous to put a date for baptism and doesn’t feel ready but he wants us to keep teaching him and I def think when he prays and asks...he will be ready!
We also had a huge miracle - we have been PRAYING so much this week to be lead to those people who are ready and waiting for us and one day we were contacting people and this little girl tells us that we had talked to her before in the house of her cousin Milagros and that we invited her to church once. I didn’t think anything of it and wanted to keep going but the little girl told us to go to her house and we ended up teaching her, her mom, and grandma and they are all related to our recent convert Sabrina. The mom – Gladis - had SO many good questions and she seriously is so great. We passed the next day and she was like waiting with the pamphlet out ready to chat and had more good questions and read it all. We gave her a Book of Mormon and challenged her to read it and pray about it. The next day she was at the doctor with her sister - who is a member - so we ran over to the doctor and taught them all in there - haha - it was great! Sabrina ended up coming and bearing her testimony and it was SO intense!!! Gladis did all her reading and praying and was asking Sabrina - who is her niece - and her sister Graciela (who is the member as well) all these good questions about the church and even asked about baptism. I love her so much and I love teaching her because she has so many doubts (does that make sense…..then we get to answer the questions and help with her faith!). Sunday her and he daughter came to church and loved it and I truly feel like they are all so prepared to accept the gospel and we want to try and put a date with them this week!
We truly are seeing and experiencing so many miracles in Arroyito and every week I just love the place and the people more. I feel so at home and feel so happy with all the people and love them so much and would do anything for them. I just love the mission. I love waking up every day and being able to walk outside - wearing the name of my Savior Jesus Christ - and inviting all to come unto him and be clean and pure and change their lives for the better and find the truth that they are looking for. One elder that gave his testimony that was leaving stated just that - that we must take advantage of the time that we have to be representatives of the Savior because we truly are his servants and have him standing next to us and never again in our lives will we have this opportunity. I am so grateful to be standing with my Savior daily and inviting people to accept him in their hearts and lives and I am so grateful for the blessings that this gospel brings. I know this church is true and I know Christ lives and is my savior and I know that if we obey and follow him and accept his gospel in this life and endure faithful to the end - we will enter into his rest and find peace in this life and eternal joy in this life to come. I love you all with my heart and thank you for all your prayers, love and support.
Love, Hermana Pond