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