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, October 31, 2011

Monday October 23, 2011

Family and Friends,

So it’s been an off week so I do not have much to write about. My companion has been sick pretty much all week and we did not get to work very much. ☹ shoot. Each day she just felt worse and worse and the poor girl just wanted someone to tell her what she had and all these people told her gastritis, which we think doesn’t even exist. Any time someone’s stomach hurts they say it’s gastritis and tell them they can only eat pasta and rice. We finally went to the doctor and the lady just like wrote a random medicine on a scrap of paper and gave it to her and then the nurse comes in and starts preparing a shot. My comp looked at me all wide eyed and I about freaked out, because I hate shots. She looks at the lady and says, ¨where is that going?¨ and she laughs and says ¨en su cola!¨ Oh my gosh I about died....so she like made her bend over and she got a shot in her behind….how awkward and embarrassing for everyone. I don’t think it even helped but we got a good laugh out of it all.

Also this week we had to travel to this other area because this guy we had an appointment with lived in the pueblo over. So we hopped on the bus and showed up in this random town and with luck we actually found his house and he was home...but we ended up being NOT so lucky. So we think it is this cute old man that lives alone and seemed very interested in our message...wrong! (so naïve) We are sitting there and all of a sudden he becomes this HUGE ¨scorpion¨- which is like someone that hits on missionaries - and he starts like hugging and kissing us and just kept talking about how pretty we were and gave us this creepy dirty water....it was a wreck - awk mess situation…..so luckily he was practically crippled because he had hurt his leg a week or so ago so we just offered a prayer and booked it out of there safe and unharmed. We felt SO uncomfortable and like wanted to die after. That is the last time we set an appointment with a little crippled old man that wore a bright pink sweater and shades thinking he is interested in our message.

On a positive note, we got to eat with Sylvia this week and her husband for lunch for the first time and that was way fun! I LOVE THEM! It was super glam because they are like in the higher class so we had like a four course meal - like the first glam intense nice meal of my mission - and after they made us this herbal tea in these glam china glasses and we got to just sip on it and chat about life and the gospel. It was epic.

Also a little tender mercy that happened this week was we were on the way to a lunch appointment, and running to the bus station and this tender guy who is homeless and an alcoholic was walking just super out of it in the streets and passed us. We gave a friendly and loving hello to him on our way and right before we crossed our paths he stopped us and looked us both in the eye and began to weep a little bit. He recognized that we were representatives of Jesus Christ and could physically feel the light we carried as we passed him. Right then and there in the moment without anyone saying anything he dropped his hat - right there in the middle of the sidewalks with people all around us - and he asked us if we could offer him a prayer. As we prayed for this man by name out loud I felt such a strong love for him from our Heavenly Father, and I just knew that he knew and cared for him. I was so overwhelmed by this impact of feelings and I felt so grateful that this child of God felt that we, as servants of God, were there in that moment to bless his precious life and he knew we could help him. We all walked out of that small and tender mercy just filled with so much of God’s love and knowing that God truly does love ALL of his children and wants us to send that care and love to them all regardless of what the are going through, where they are, or who they are. This experience really made me comprehend the true meaning of the scripture in Romans 8:16 that talks about that through the spirit we receive the testimony that we are children of God.

We as well visited the Familia Ponsse this week who are an incomplete family and that are passing through a trial really hard right now and need a lot of ward support. The couple who are members were married in the temple and have two little daughters. Their three year old has cancer and had surgery just a few days ago. We asked the bishop and another member to come and give the little girl a blessing and of course they willingly accepted. As we were all in there together, they brought the little girl out and suddenly the room was just pierced corner to corner with the spirit, and as we all gazed upon this heavenly sent angel who was recovering from hours of surgery. She had bandages all over her, and was just beaming with so much light in her face….we couldn’t believe how special she is and how much strength she has to get through this, and is really setting the example for all. I truly was just looking that little girl in the eyes and felt that I was in the presence of a heavenly being, and it was hard not to break down in tears, because she was just so full of purity, innocence, virtue, and love. I was just blessed to feel that and be close to her light and peace. I hadn’t felt like that since I had been in the temple. I didn’t want to leave this house and I couldn’t believe - although it was a huge trial for the family-that they were so blessed to have this angel in their life and to set the example of what it teaches us in the scriptures to truly ¨become as a little child¨. Even though in this life we have so many challenges that can be hard and heart breaking and especially when we don’t know the outcome of it all, it is so important to have faith and I am so grateful for this entire family because they are all being so strong. The girl that is a member and is married in the temple is a recent convert and told us that if she didn’t have the gospel knowledge she had at this time, she wouldn’t have the strength to overcome this trial with such faith and hope and it would be so much more difficult. We all just sat in silence and the bishop just said ¨can you believe the miracles that come from living the gospel. It is all just completely true. There is no other way¨ I am so blessed to be a part of this miraculous work. I am blessed to be able to have the Holy Ghost as my constant companion, and to feel of his presence abundantly in my life, and very frequently. I am grateful for this perfect gospel that literally lifts us through our trials and brings us comfort in everything we overcome in this mortal life. I know this gospel is true and I will never deny it. I love you all with all of my heart!


Hermana Pond

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sister Pond and Sister Utrera serving in La Falda!

So worth the Hike to see this!

Hermanas of Cordoba bonding!

Cleaning......Love it!

So much walking!

Monday October 17th

Family and friends…

I seriously don’t even know where to begin. Never in my life have I ever wanted to bullet point my letter, but as of right now, this might just be necessary because so much has gone down this week and if I write it all out like I usually do, you will all want to kill me because it will be so long - haha.

* Hermana camp!!! Me, my comp, Hermana Masters (from L.A.) and Hermana MCDONALD (my old comp from Arroyito) all got to work together in our areas for three days and do switches to learn from each other and work in different areas and try new things and have fun. We were all laughing like the whole time and just all loved life. When it started the zone leaders were sitting in the chapel with all these like flowers and teddy bears all over – haha - SO corny and we sang Sisters in Zion - it was unforgettable.

* Literally hiked a mountain - my comp and I….we thought it was leading us somewhere and it ended up being just a long path in the middle of nowhere and so we spent like an hour hiking down trying to find like read people and back to our town.

* Hitch-hike sitch - we randomly decided we would go try a new town and we thought we could walk there…false! We ended up walking like 2 hours all up hill to this town and we finally found it but it was the end of the day and we were suppose to go home. We felt so awk like on the side of the freeway in the dark….we are always lost I feel…

* Look alikes - so not only have I been told that I look like the Virgin Mary, a gypsy, and Evan Essence, but this weekend a member told me I liked like the grudge girl!!! Haha - he made me like put my hair over my head and peak out one eye and he was super creeped out and like scared of me and today we saw him in the streets with his friends and he was telling all of them…look its the grudge girl…right? Doesn’t she look like her……haha awk.

* Pouring rain - gnarly rain this week and I am so poor with my hole shoes and just a wreck like taking them off in the middle of the streets to clean them out and take out the dirt and rocks – haha - embarrassing…..one day we were stuck in the rain and this drunk guy invites us in because he feels bad so we go in and he ends up just talking politics and how bitter he is about America and Argentina and everyone is greedy with money and he kept laughing and pointing at his cat and saying in English….he drinks beer too! Haha - he thought he was so funny. We ended up becoming legit friends and he invited us to his house Sunday for an ASADO - love it - because it was mothers day here, so we showed up and it was legit! So good – this asado….and all his family are like out of control…..his kids are all dred hippies with tons of piercings and they were all just smoking and loud and talking over each other and we all just laughed the whole time. Love life. Love mission life awkwardness when stuff like this happens daily.

-FLOOD- so I came to this area and I was stoked because for the first time in my mission we have a washer in our apt and I don’t have to wash my clothes by hand -its so funny its still so ghetto and like shakes and makes funny noises when its going and at the end it like beeps like a microwave like cool…(foods ready)…anyway and so I went to do it today and all was well and as we are studying all of the sudden I feel all this water on my feet and I look down and there is a HUGE flood of water all over the ground. We freaked out and opened our door and grabbed a squeegee and a broom (because they don’t have mops here) and with poor buckets and rags we are like trying to scoop the water out and it was SO poor we were both laughing so hard it was such a disaster…only in Argentina.

What a week. So many funny things happen. That’s why I love the mission because as much as you are having spiritual times and trials you also are having so much fun and just enjoying yourselves. Love it.

On the spiritual side…..this week we had the BAPTISM of Sylvia!!!! It was so spiritual and probably the most smooth baptism I have had in the mission because the members did like everything. She is such a special lady, and was just so ready! She looked like an angel, and she had her baptism on this specific date because it was the birthday of her dad that had passed away. Her husband gave such a good talk and was so emotional and happy for his wife to join the church and talked about going to the temple with her. She was just glowing when she came out of the water and was literally just emanating purity, joy, and happiness. I love her so much and feel very honored to be a part of this huge change and step she has made in her life. We got to sing at the service, and it was so funny because in this area all the members are so old and like during the whole service this lady kept like screaming so loud and talking and it was so obnoxious. It was such a special day and she got confirmed on mothers day! I Love her!

We walked SO much this week. It was so amazing to have this miracle of the baptism, but as well as the good times in the mission, there are always the hard times. I was just so tired. It was like when you go to an Amusement Park and you walk around ALL day and you are so tired and you don’t get onto one ride…your thinking…..okay, I paid for this and just walked around all day…why!! I felt so tired and with the rain and all the hills and walking and little teaching and finding, I felt so confused and disappointed. This week my comp and I have really reflected on life and just analyzed so much of our purpose and why we have trials and what we can do personally to be truly happy despite our opposition or problems.

I love the quote by Elder Wirthlin that says… ¨in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger, wiser, and happier as a result. The way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life. If we approach adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead towards times of greatest happiness.¨ Regardless of who we are, where we are, or what we are doing, we are all going to encounter these hard times and it is truly up to us on how we handle them, and we can choose the way we come out of them. I love the quote by President Monson that says… ¨Stresses in our lives come regardless of our circumstances. We must deal with them the best we can. But we should not let them get in the way of what is most important - and what is most important almost always involves the people around us.¨ Although it is easy to think ¨Poor me and why is this happening,¨ we must focus on the good and wonder always what we can learn from a situation or problem and remember that we can always come out of these situations stronger. So how do we change…how do we as selfish human beings who love being so focused on ourselves all the time and our problems and always wondering what’s in it for me - how do we follow the counsel of our dear prophet and other leaders in the church and find that joy in the journey……

I love when he talked about that we must focus and remember the more important things around us, and most of the time that involves people. People are all around us daily and they are most likely going through the exact frustrations and hard times that we are and need just as much help and attention as we do…and so what do we do….

Let us look to the example of the Savior and remember that he has told us that as he has loved us we must LOVE one another. Love and charity are talked about numerous times in the scriptures and like it states in 1 Cor.13:2 without charity we are nothing, and it says in Moroni 7: 47-48 charity is the pure love of Christ and it endures forever and we must pray unto the father with all the energy of our hearts to be filled with this love. With everything we have we must desire, yearn for, and seek this intense and important love and when we go to our Heavenly Father in prayer and ask to have it daily - we will see changes and differences in our lives and will begin to see all of God’s children how he sees them and love them as he does. I love in the bible dictionary under Charity where it states that ¨Charity is the highest, noblest, and strongest kind of love¨ and like faith, love and charity lead to action. I love the quote by William Shakespeare that says ¨they do not love that do not SHOW their love ¨ We not only must pray for charity to have it, but we must go out and show that love and care for people by going out and serving them. We have so many good examples of true charity and service such as the Savior when he said, ¨I am among you as he that serveth¨ (Luke 22:27), King Benjamin in chapters 2-4 in Mosiah when even as a king he was always serving the people and invited them to serve each other, and as well as Ammon in the Book of Mormon - Alma 17. Gordon B Hinckley in the beginning of his mission really struggled and his dad told him to get on your knees, then FORGET YOURSELF and GO to work - This experience changed his life and he realized that ¨he who lives only to himself withers and dies, while he who forgets himself in the SERVICE of others grows and blossoms in this life and in eternity.¨ Also Mother Teresa when she said ¨One thing will always secure heaven for us - the acts of charity and kindness with which we have filled our lives.¨ Not only have all these people set the example of showing their love for the Lord by serving his people but we have seen that through their love and charity throughout the course of their lives….this has made them completely HAPPY! When we forget ourselves, our problems, worries, sorrows, troubles, stresses, and we pray with all the energy of our hearts for that pure love of Christ and to have that charity and love for others and then we go out and act and we serve people and we do everything we can to help and make them happy - that is the moment that our lives our filled with the joy we are looking for daily. So often we sit around and wonder why we are so sad and so soaked up in our problems and wonder how they are going to go away… but I promise each of you that all of this - charity and love and service - are the secrets to life, and by applying these things into our daily schedules and our hearts, we will find true happiness. It is so simple - get up and go do something for someone else. Stop worrying what is going to happen tomorrow and do something worthwhile today to change the life of someone else. Don’t stress about what happened yesterday…..and find that person this very minute and moment who needs your help and advice and service today, and I guarantee you that you will feel better, your problems will not go away but you will be able to face them with more strength, courage, patience, and hope and you will be HAPPY.

Although we live in the ¨me¨ generation and we seek so many things for ourselves, we need to remember that the Savior’s sweet and simple invitation to all…..to love one another as he has loved us. Stop worrying. Remember that your Heavenly Father loves you and he will bless you tremendously if you show your love for him and your Savior by getting up, going out, loving the people around you, look for opportunities to serve them, and in return your heart will be filled with that pure love and charity.

I love the gospel and I love the mission. Each day I feel like I am realizing the simple truths about life and actually learning to apply them to myself. I have so many faults and have such a long way to go to learn, but I can testify to each of you that this gospel is incredibly, completely, and absolutely true and if we actually DO and LIVE what we know, and learn more each day, then we can be happy and work towards those heavenly and celestial gates and that rich, pure, glowing, and everlasting life. I love you all and hope that you can get up, get moving, and go serve and love those people around you and find that solution to your problems and happiness.

Love Hermana Pond

Good times in Arroyito!

Baptism of Sylvia

Bonding with the Hippie musicians of course

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another crazy week in Argentina!

Monday October 10th, 2011

Hello Friends and Family!

So I am really nervous to be a wife someday....because in the mission we are kind of forced to learn how to cook because in some areas - like mine right now - the members don’t really feed us, which is kind of sad. So we have to cook for ourselves every day, and we try to do things simple and easy but it all gets old…so one day we decided to do something that needed to be fried, and we were like just in the kitchen doin our thing, and all of the sudden like the whole kitchen is almost on fire, and there is smoke everywhere and we are just like running around freaking out and throwing water everywhere – haha - it was a wreck...I def need to work on my cooking skills a little.

I guess I also need to get a little better with my direction skills as well, because we tried traveling and going to a new area to work in this week called LOS COCOS, and we are on the bus, and we just randomly see this sign that says Los Cocos, so we jump up and figure we are in the right place. We get off the bus and find ourselves in this weird like trippy clown fair town with all these rides and tourists stuff....so weird! So we start walking and trying to talk to people and everyone just notices we are white so figure we are tourists and all these people are like running to us offering their hotels and business and it was such a disaster - haha - me like trying to help them understand…NO SOMOS MISIONERAS...estamos buscando personas para enseñar el evangelio....it was a mess but way funny- I felt like it was a dream. Finally we made our way to the house we were looking for and the people were super stoked to see us and said they had been like waiting and wanted us to pass so we figured it was all worth the wild trip.

Also one day it was like pouring rain….even a little hail - and we were like treckin around super uncomfortable soaking wet just trying to find anyone to teach or talk to…..and in this one neighborhood this one huge dog found us and followed us around everywhere. As we walked with this dog, every single dog in every area was like barking SO loud at it and it kept hiding and using us to like keep away from every dog in every area....it was so strange - we didn’t get what the poor dog did….ahhhh - like everyone hated it and in the rain feeling rejected and sad ourselves, we felt it was kind of ironic that as we walked with this dog that was also discriminated against and rejected, he choose to walk along with the mormon missionaries who were feeling quite the same as him….all the people came out and saw that all these dogs were freaking out and barking at us....good stuff.

So this week has been good. We are really trying to find new people to teach and progress and that will keep the commitments we leave them. We taught a lady we recently found named Myrta and she is way cute. She is a single mom and has 2 kids and said that 2 Mormon missionaries came to her door the night she just separated from her husband and was in her room crying and praying to God to help and comfort her. She loved what they taught her and really felt the spirit but she could never go to church because of her work. She still has the same work so we are trying to help her pray and find another job so she can come and try it out. We taught her the restoration and about the Book of Mormon and it was SO powerful. So many times in the mission its so easy to get disenchanted or discouraged when no one is listening and you can find people to pass for and you always just wonder why you are even in the place you are and if you can even have an influence or help anyone at all. For this reason I love the timing of the Lord. He always tries us and gives us time, to see if we can really just give that much more and to keep on going. As we got into this lesson after a hard day, and as this lady just sat there eager to learn of our message and seemed just so thirsty for that help and spirituality in her life, I looked her in the eyes just completely filled with the spirit of God and with all that I had I testified to her the power and promise and truth of the restoration of the gospel. I told her how much her Heavenly Father loves her, and that is why he first sent those two missionaries to her door….because they could provide that light and guidance that she lacked in her life…..and that is the same reason we had returned to her doorstep a few years later. We too carried the same profound and life changing message that would lift her higher and give her the strength she needed.

One of my favorite parts of the mission is how many times weekly and even daily the Lord is testifying in our own hearts as missionaries and helping us remember why we are out here. He gives us that confirmation and comfort and we remember that testimony we carry and we must strengthen it daily. It is truly amazing. This work is without fault….and it leaves me speechless with the miracles that occur daily. What an honor it is to be apart of it all!

We also found the cutest girl in the streets this week named Angie. She is from Bolivia, and is living with family members here, but her kids and husband are all back there so she feels very alone sometimes. She has a ton of faith and loves learning about god. She told us to come by and gave us directions to a store and I almost thought she was just blowing us off, but when we passed the next day she was there like she said and waiting and had read what we gave her! She loved it and had a lot of questions about church and said she really wants to go next week because this week she had work. She wants to increase her faith and learn more about God because she had recognized the differences and changes in her life when she is praying and reading the bible. We are excited to work with her and have such positive feelings about her!

We also met a friend of a recent convert named Clarita and she is super precious and we ended up talking to her a lot and teaching her. One night I was just having a way hard time and felt super emotional, tired and sad, and was all consumed in my own problems and thoughts. I just felt like I couldn’t get out of this mood. Once we started talking to her I said a little prayer for strength and help from the Lord and as I truly tuned into what she was saying and centered all of my thoughts and energy and concern on this lady, I just felt literally like all of my problems went away, and I felt this overwhelming love for this person I was talking to, and I just wanted to hug her as she wept, and shared with us her life story and all of the hardships and sorrows and pains she had been through. She has been a widow twice in her life, losing a husband at the age of 21 and then her second 2 years ago - and she also lost her parents at a really young age and two of her siblings have committed suicide. She has lived alone for 2 years now and talked about how she has just tried to focus her time and energy on OTHERS and really loves and serves other people. I felt so inspired by this lady and truly felt how much her Heavenly Father loves her for her courage and strength and I seriously just felt how proud he was of her and how she never is alone.

In this moment I just truly realized the importance of listening to people and really loving them and using the gift of discernment to understand what they are truly going through and when we do this we not only help others but we are able to forget ourselves and our problems and the hard times pass because we are so focused on helping, serving, listening to, and all around just LOVING others. If we just stop being so self absorbed all the time and really think about what we can do for OTHERS I just know that we feel so much better and we find so much more happiness and truly enjoy day to day life and understand our true purpose as members of God’s church.

We also passed for Sylvia this week and when we showed up at her house her and her husband were super flustered and stressed and were like ¨oh we thought they told you not to come....¨we were super confused and they still let us in and we all sat down and they both were just super emotional and could barely speak. We found out that in the end, they were not able to adopt the little girl that had been living with them for months and months and they were just crushed. We ended up sharing a scripture with them and a really really powerful prayer and the spirit was just so crystal clear with us in that moment and we all just felt so at peace and that everything was going to be okay. Sylvia has always wanted children but has never been able to have them and she is just so heart broken and so sad because she never feels like she can have them but my comp and I felt very strongly impressed to testify and promise her that she would be able to have kids someday, and maybe it won’t be in their timing, but the Lord will bless them and it will happen. They were just so tender and full of the spirit and gratitude and just called us their ¨angels¨ because they told someone to call us and tell us not to come, but of course - everything happens for a reason. We showed up at their door at the perfect time and we were all able to talk and receive comfort together. It was really neat! I love her so much - she is golden, and came to church Sunday and loved it, and is so excited to get baptized!!! Every day she is just asking us when we can pass again to teach her so she can get baptized as soon as possible.

Today we went to this place called LA CUMBRE, which is the cutest little town like 30 minutes from us, and we all went as a zone. We got to hike this beautiful trail that overlooked the whole town and at the top there was a statue of Christ that is completely pure white with his hands stretched out at the top. As we all struggled up to the top, there being about 4 or 5 different crosses on each point as you got higher and higher, we finally all made it up, and took pictures and there was just such a peaceful stillness up there with all of us together united and we all just pondered together as we looked to Christ. The zone leaders gave a spiritual thought and shared a scripture in D & C 128 verse 22 that says

¨brethren, shall we not go on in such a great cause..go forward and not backward. COURAGE, brethren; and on and on to victory...¨

They talked about how like the hike, and in life, and in the mission, as we climb up the hill and we take the invitation from our Savior that states ¨and he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.¨ and we truly follow him and carry those ¨crosses of the world¨ we will make it to our victory and we will be able to be accepted into his arms of his love. This truly is such a great cause and it is always so important to remember to always go forward and like on the hike just keep going up and continue on and on to victory. Even though the climb is tough sometimes and hard, long, tiring, almost seems impossible at moments - Christ is our goal and heaven and eternal life for all the souls and children of God is our victory. We must never give up and keep on going. We must continue in our good cause and know that Christ is awaiting us at the top with open arms and loving acceptance. He is there and he wants us to succeed and he knows we can make it and as long as we forget ourselves and we drop everything and follow him - he will lead the way and do the rest, and make sure that we get to the top.

I love the mission and I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I can testify that he lives and he is at the top of the hill, and I encourage all to just never give up and look to him and I promise you that you will make it through those hills, hard times, and stumbles and receive those comforting and loving words of ¨well done my good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of the Lord.¨ (Matt 25:23)

Love, Hermana Pond

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Monday October 3rd, 2011

Family and friends! What a week and what a fabulous conference!!!! I am just so spiritually satisfied. So first let me fill you all in on my new area and comp and then we will chat about the conference.

So my area is called LA FALDA and it is known for tourism. It is up in the mountains and it kind of reminds me a mix of park city and newport....haha it has way cute cobble stone houses and tons of flowers and big green trees and a HUGE Catholic church in the middle of the town. Everyone is super nice and there are a ton of people! This is literally like hippie town. All the stores are all earthy with incense and dream catchers and gnomes, and people are just so chill and kick back and love life. One night we were walking in the street and these two hippy guys were performing in the streets and came over to talk to us. We tried sharing the restored gospel with them, and one of them - I am pretty sure he might have been a little ィout of itィ- came really close to my face and smiled with these huge eyes and was like ィI don’t believe in anything! I believe in the energies around us, but don’t worry little lady- I will read what you give me... I promise!ィ haha - it was way fun we got pics with them…..after they played a little show in the street for everyone.

Also we went to teach this one lady this week named Victoria who is literally crazy. We got in her house and I really felt uncomfortable....she had a weird feeling and spirit in her house. She told us about all these creepy dreams she has about God and was like jumping around and pacing her house foaming at the mouth telling us all these weird visions she has...I was like uhhh get us out of here! And before we headed out she asked us all these questions about baptisms for the dead and told us that one day she read about it in the bible so she and he husband went out in her pool and she said she got baptized for Mother Teresa, and doves flew by her pool and watched so she knew God was proud of here. Trippy lady! We ran out with the invite to conference.

Also I LOVE our mission leader here...he is JACK SPARROW! He is SO funny and like walks and talks exactly like Jack Sparrow and it just super intense and old and loves missionary work and is all about lessons and helping us. We had a meeting with him and I seriously questioned if something was up with him, because he was just like taking all these scratch papers and scribbling on them- I guess like notes - as he talked to us about people and I had no clue how he understood any of it. He is epic.

It was also really fun because this week I got to see my dad! It was a miracle that we found him because no one in the office really told me anything so lucky we were waiting for a lady to show up at the church for an appointment and my dad drives up in a rental car with this like huge smile on his face! Haha - it was so fun - I love my dad! We all just bonded and talked about mission life and the gospel and I feel like I truly got so much insight and advice and help out of it. I love my dad he truly is my hero. We all went to dinner and I was like so embarrassed my dad was walking around everywhere like he owned the place, and was just talking to everyone in English saying - Do you take AMEX.....haha - it was out of control. I was like dad who do you think you are – stop……and he was like, hey, I am a 50 year old white male…..I do what I want – hahaha - love you pops.

So as I have been roaming around all week trying to get to know a new area and new faces and people - we really have been working hard and seeing miracles already! I love my comp a lot and we get along so well! She has way high positive energy and tons of faith and is willing to sacrifice and work hard and I know that’s exactly what we need here because it definitely a harder area. We are working with this way legit lady named Silvia and her story is SO amazing! Her husband has been a member his whole life and been inactive for 40 years. They are recently adopting their first little girl and the guy is a super successful and super wellエknown doctor who travels all over the world and knows English. A member met and talked to him once and literally just got him back in talking about and interested in the church. His wife was even more interested and started meeting with the missionaries and now she is just on fire! She loves the gospel and we can see her faith strengthening everyday. She is reading and praying and we watched the Joseph Smith movie with her and she was really moved. After it finished she just looks at us and is like, “I am getting baptized the 15!!!!” It was such a miracle and so emotional. Her and her cute family all came to the conferences and loved them and are just so growing in the gospel already. The dad talked to us about how he wants to go to Salt Lake and be sealed as a family! I hope they do so I can go and be able to be a part of it all. I love them so much and I am so grateful for families like them that are really just prepared and ready to live the gospel of Jesus Christ at its highest!

More than anything I am so grateful for good members that open their mouths and share their testimonies of the gospel to all because you never know what kind of miracles can come out of it! Member missionaries ARE help so much with this great work - they keep it moving and progressing! I encourage all of you to do he same!

So conference was just moving and super inspiring. Yes i did have to watch it in Spanish but I loved it just as much, because I just looked around with all the amazing saints of Argentina and wondered - when will I ever get this chance again...to be in this cute town in Argentina with these pioneer saints that just love and live the gospel with all their hearts…..and were all just awed by the words of the prophet and apostles of the true living church of Jesus Christ.

I wanted to express my love and gratitude of the talk by elder Christofferson about the Atonement and repentance. I love that he said that repentance is a celebration and it is truly an act of love. I loved the five steps that were provided by him and as I studied this week I realized that a lot of the things I studied applied exactly to this principle.

First - we must have the true desire to change ourselves - I love the scripture in Mosiah chapter 5 verse 2 that talks about how the people literally felt that the spirit of the Lord had “wrought a mighty change un us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.”

Second - align ourselves with the will of God - I love the example in the New Testament whenever Christ was teaching the people and in Luke 5 verse 30 he is talking about that he is nothing, and that because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the father that has sent me. We must always be willing to do and follow the will of God and always be in line with his ways and teachings.

Third - we must covenant to obey - I love the scripture in Abraham 3 verses 23-25 because it clearly states what our divine and earthly purposes are and that we were specifically picked and chosen to be here and come down to the earth “to see if they will do ALL things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” We have accepted and obeyed the will of the father before in the pre-eternal life and so we are expected to do it here again on earth. Yes we are given our agency to act for ourselves but we are also such elect and chosen people and have these such sacred and divine opportunities and even responsibilities to always follow God and his way and like it states in our baptismal covenant….. “and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he has given them, that they may always have his spirit to be with them.”

Forth - desire to continue...keep going! I love the talk by Elder Hales that was about waiting on the Lord and how we always must be patient and know that we learn and progress through trials and hard times and we must always know that knowledge and confirmation and help come to us line upon line. I love when he talked about how he is happy in his Garden of Gethsemene because he never has to be alone. We need to have faith! Never give up and enjoy the journey.

Fifth- the sweet joy and feeling of forgiveness - I love ALL the countless and famous stories in the scriptures of healing and forgiveness. In the New Testament we have numerous examples from the Savior like when he heals the woman with the blood issue (Luke 8:48), forgives the sad sinner woman who is washing the Lord’s feet with her tears (Luke 7:47-48, 50), the adulterous who is cast to the Saviors feet and is promised that the Lord will not condemn her and to go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11), the story of the prodigal son who feels that in the heavens sight he has sinned and cannot be called his fathers son but with open arms the father welcomes him home and after being lost, he is found (Luke 15:10, 18-20, 32). Also in the Book of Mormon when Alma’s soul is wracked up in torment and feels so much pain from all of his sins but when he had sincerely repented states that “There can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.” (Alma 36:19-21) and in Enos when he is in fervent and sincere prayer for nights seeking true repentance and forgiveness from the Lord and the Lord answers him stating “thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.”

All of these amazing examples and stories we read and find in the scriptures are living and true proof and testimony that God lives and loves us and wants us to repent - as an invitation and act of kindness - so we can progress and change and be forgiven of our sins. I thought of the movie “Raising Helen,” and how in the end she wants to be this cool mom and not bother the teenage girl to tell her what she can and can’t do, and literally is scared to call her out and help her. The more bold and tough mom - the sister of Helen - is then the one that has to go in and take Jenny out of the hotel room and send her home and as everyone is crying and yelling and not understanding why the aunt would ever do this and ruin her life and embarrass her the aunt looks both the youth in the eyes and tells them that she loves them dearly and she is doing all of it out of love because she knows that it is the right thing to do and will benefit them in the end. I think we can learn a good example of this lesson that an invitation to repent is an act of LOVE and that yes none of us are perfect but we know exactly what we should and shouldn’t do and we are all here to HELP and love and protect and watch over each other and make sure that we each are staying on the right path and doing the things that are pleasing in the sight of the Lord and that will bless us. It is so important that we follow these steps of repentance and change and every single one of us should always be there to help out and look out for one another because we know what happiness and joy we feel when we live the gospel. Let us each repent and ‘wax stronger and stronger in our humility and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the PURIFYING and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification come because of their yielding our hearts unto God.” (Helaman 3:35)

We can heal, clean, and purify ourselves through the love and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ and we are taught and demonstrated the way very clearly by what we can do to get us there when we feel those comforting and consoling words stating from our Savior Jesus Christ.......thy faith has saved thee, go in peace. (Luke 7:50) I am so grateful for such a loving and understanding and forgiving Savior that is willing to erase our errors and strengthen our weaknesses and lift our burdens and sorrows. I can testify as his living witness that only through him we can feel the healing power of repentance and that we can become made clean again. Come unto him and partake of this joy and forgiveness. Humble yourselves and follow his way and you will enter into this peace.


Hermana Pond