November 7th, 2011
Adventures in La Falda!
Hello! So it’s been a good few days – haha - since we have had a short week with all the weird changes and such.
-Chick fight…OH MY GOSH. So one night we were walking home from an appointment with a family and we were kind of in a sketchy neighborhood and as we were like hiking up this hill we see these four like 14 year old girls and they are on the floor like killing each other! They were screaming and cursing, pulling out each others hair, and scratching each others faces. We freaked out and didn’t know if we should help or just walk away but this older guy saw and tried splitting them up. As we walked higher up the hill we heard someone saying that it was Brenda from down the street that started the whole thing…our investigator! I about died. Lets just say we still haven’t been able to pass for her house. I am little nervous to upset her.
-Sandals…not such a good idea after all - so we were walking out after lunch to go out and teach people and I was just super excited and had tons of energy, just ready to teach! We only get like a few feet from out apartment and somehow I was like distracted pointing at something for my comp to look and I tripped way hard not thinking anything of it because I am just clumsy and awk. We keep walking and all of the sudden my comp looks down and she’s like oh my GOSH you’re dying – haha - and I look down and there is blood everywhere and I had broken open the front of my toe. I just looked down at it and was like oh it didn’t hurt that bad….so I am like hobbling back the apt with a bloody foot and this toothless homeless Indian looking guy who is always on the corner says ¨mamita que te pasa…¨ I just throw up my poor blood foot and tell him I am a wreck and dying pretty much…..haha - it was great. We got home and argentine bandaged it up - wrapped scotch tape around my big toe-and we headed out to preach. My toe still hurts…
-We were in another town this week and went into a tourist office to get a map so we could find our way around. She was súper nice and was explaining everything so well, and was super helpful. As we sat there and chatted with her I just got this feeling to give her something to read about the church and right when I bent down to my bag to pull something out she asked us who we were and what we did! We were in her office for like an hour telling her about the gospel and testifying of its truth. She seemed super interested and said she would call us and also invite other people that would seem to have interest! She is super cute and young and her name is Maggie, so we are just waiting for her to call us so we can have an appointment with her!
-A member called us this week and was like - hey hermanas, I got a reference for you! She said she was talking to her neighbor - who is an older lady that lives with her handicapped daughter - and asked why she was always so happy - MEMBER MISSIONARY WORK! WHOOO! And so she taught a little about the gospel and said she would come over with the missionaries the next day and teach them. Legit! So we went and they loved it and the spirit was SO strong and they have a ton of interest!!!! We set a baptism date for the end of this month and they both came to church Sunday but the only problem is both don’t walk very well at ALL -so its a lot of work to get them to church but we have faith and the members said they will help out a lot. Their names are Ofelia and Christina so pray for them - they are super special and ready for the blessings of the gospel!
-The zone leaders - who I idolize and worship - I am not kidding they are the most intense and best missionaries EVER - came and did a splash in our area to help us find new people to teach and work with the people we are teaching right now. We had plans for all of us to go to a different town but for some reason Elder Snack felt we should stay in La Falda and work with some people here. We were a little down about it because all the people we were working with in La Falda were not progressing that much, but we trusted in the leaders and went around passing for all the people together. We got to this lady’s house – Lorena - and I thought nothing of it. It is usually really loud because she has 2 kids and she is always distracted but we all sat down and at first it was just her dad. We chatted with him but once she showed up the elders just sat her down and drilled her!!! (In a good way), but they taught her the most amazing lesson I have ever been in. The spirit was SO intense and I just kept looking at her and thinking – ahhh - I hope she is feeling this! They tried talking to her about baptism and she rejected. They taught more doctrine out of the Book of Mormon and shared their testimonies. She pondered on the things they said and as they asked if she could imagine what it would be like to experience never ending happiness as a family - she got all quiet and told us because of her experiences - had a drinker abusive husband and left him and is struggling with 2 kids alone financially - she doesn’t think she knows what true happiness is. We promised and testified to her the blessings and happiness of the gospel and the spirit was just piercing all of us and we were all way emotional and then my comp committed her to be baptized! It was probably one of my favorite lessons in my missión. With both us and the elders and such a prepared investigator who was just in the moment of really needing all this for her life and for her kids and accepted it! There was tons of opposition but with the help and strength of the lord through our fasts and prayers she came to church on Sunday for all three hours! I couldn’t believe how much the Lord has been blessing us this week and it just really gave me the testimony that with faith - ANYTHING is possible.
Also this new couple moved into the ward this week and the girl is a member but the guy is not and he wants to get baptized! He pretty much is already learning a lot and strengthening his testimony and in the principles of the gospel class he gave his cool story and journey to the true church. I was giving the class on faith and as all these investigators were there I just bore my testimony of my conversión with all my heart and I just knew, in that moment looking at all them and their desire and faith to find the truth and happiness, that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and through obeying and living its principles we can be happy. It was such a blessing. It was such a good week.
Although it was a week of pure miracles and joy there was also times of a lot of opposition and trials of my faith personally. As we were fasting the night before Sunday we had just had a really hard day and no one was home and we were completely unsure of who was going to be at church the next day and had a ton of pressure from leaders and the missión to get investigators in church. I did doubt a lot. I did struggle internally and at one point of the night I was just so overwhelmed, with the missión, the church, responsibility, work, sacrifice, and faith. I felt like I personally couldn’t do it and handle it anymore. I felt annoyed and frustrated with people’s agency and opposition and thinking how unfair a lot of things were. Our last appointment with this man at the end of the night during our fast I was so tired and over it and I kind of tuned out to what the guy was saying. As I tuned in for a second, I realized that he was really thanking us for our dedication and Heart to the work we were doing and he said ¨someone really needs to not just be convinced to do the things you are both doing but to really be CONVERTED.¨
As we got home at night and I collapsed into bed thinking about all the stress that was above our heads, the work and worry we had to deal with in the morning, and the disappointment we might have to face after a week of true dedication I just wanted to quit. I wondered why I do it all and why I keep going each day. I wondered if it was all worth it and as I laid there in the dark just super restless and weak, I just kept going back to that comment from the shirtless old man minutes before that although had no interest in what we had to share with him could comment and tell us that he KNEW that we were not just convinced of what we did but TRULY CONVERTED. What does it mean to be truly converted and why is it important not just in the missión but as members of this church to be truly converted…
This week I studied a talk written by my companion’s grandfather that he wrote when he was a missión president. He talked about the importance of conversion, and he shares the story of Peter the apostle of Christ. After many experiences of witnessing, testifying, receiving, preaching, teaching, and bearing all things with Christ in his ministry, Peter still heard the words from Christ himself after these experiences that ¨when thou are converted, strengthen they brethren¨ (Luke 22:22).
Is conversión then more than just having a testimony of Christ and not just promising the Lord to do something for him, but it is much more. True conversión really is what it talks about in Alma chapter 5, that ¨mighty change of heart¨ and in Mosiah 3 verse 19 how we must yield to the enticings of the holy spirit and put off the natural man and submit to the will of God forever. After letting down the Lord and rejecting him three times before his death, Peter had let down the Lord, feeling inadequate to do his work or will again. He had felt that he had tried his very best and tried to serve the Lord but must have lacked something. After deciding to go back to his old life and ¨go fishing¨(John 21:3), it must have felt good to take that break and relieve that burden of responsibility. As Christ called to them and Peter jumped in the water to run to the Lord and after asking him three times if he loved him, Peter, precious faithful and faithless peter who had let the Lord down, but did love him with all his heart and did want to prove his love to him, with tears in his eyes and a shaky voice declared ¨Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.¨ (John 21:17). And in this precious moment of forgiveness and love and actual declaration to the dedication and willingness of Peter to his Lord to literally give up anything and do anything for the Lord, the Lord was able to then see this true change of heart in Peter and invite him to ¨feed his sheep¨ and was ready to ¨strengthen his brethren.¨
What was this difference in Peter? After this statement peter never failed his master again and went out and did wonders for the church was a powerful leader of the church and teaching and testifying of the gospel bringing many souls to the fold of the good shepherd.
There are three key things we can learn from this story of Peter and his conversión. As disciples of Jesús Christ and his church he has asked us personally to do the same. When we are truly converted we must go out and feed his sheep and strengthen his brethren. But how do we show to the Lord we are willing and how do we know that we are truly converted?
*First is commitment - we must ask ourselves personally if we have been converted and made the commitment - if we truly have experienced this mighty change in our hearts and we are willing to yield to the spirit and submit to the will of God whatever the personal cost and earthly sacrifice is required of us - Scriptures-Mosiah 3:19, 27:28, Alma 5:7
*Second is sacrifice - we need to literally imagine if Christ was with us and he was pointing to something or he had something of the world in his hands and he asked us ¨love me more than these.¨ (John 21:15) what are those things that hold us back and keep us from doing his work as he would do it? Scriptures- Luke 9:62, Matt 19:16-22, D & C 59:8
*Third is covenant or promise - what of the sacred covenants we have to obey his commandments to sacrifice for the building up of his church, to love and serve him by loving and serving others, and to consecrate our lives FULLY to him and his work and where have I failed or fallen short and what is required of me now…? Mosiah 18:8-10, d and c 20:37, 77, 79
When we fully understand our duties in the church and we come to comprehend the importance of full conversión to have that strong and unmovable testimony and to LIVE for the Lord and do everything for him regardless of what happens - that is when miracles happen and that is when we can be useful tools in the Lord’s precious work and help build up his kingdom with our own converting power. I testify to you all, that like Peter, we must be completely and fully converted to Christ to do miracles in his church. It takes a lot more that just saying we would give anything for the Lord but when the hard times, like Peter fall short and end up rejecting the Lord. We are all very imperfect in this work and gospel but I know that Christ is merciful and he will invite us to the shore, put his hand on our shoulders with all his love and concern, and AGAIN invite us to go feed his sheep and strengthen his brethren.
This work is sometimes disappointing and it has its hard times but I know that if we are PURELY CONVERTED to Christ Jesús and we have had that change of heart and committed our lives to serving him until the end, even when it gets hard and if we just go a little more, we will see and experience the blessings. We can all get offended or upset with others or even un ourselves but in this church, for that reason, we must stay strong and always keep going because the Lord is counting on us and he needs us to keep this work pressing forward. I invite each of you to ¨taste of this love of God…which causes such exceedingly great joy in our souls¨ (mosiah 4:11), ¨Experiment upon my words¨ (alma 32:27), and ¨If you have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel it now?¨ I promise as Alma does that ¨the good shepherd doth call after YOU¨ (alma 5:60) and once you are TRULY CONVERTED, strengthen your brothers and your sisters. I love this gospel and although times can we difficult I am grateful for a loving and understanding Savior who has given me such a strong and never ending testimony of his life and truth and light to continue in the work and feed his lost sheep. Hope you all have a good week!!
Love Hermana Pond