January 16, 2012
I really am so thrilled to be in La Falda right now and to be with my companion Hermana Masters. I truly am happy every moment of every day. We just work hard and have a way good time! So it has been an amazing week - like always...
Monday - we head off to work and to go pass for this reference from a member and we find out that he works in a store, so we go in to the store awkwardly pretending we wanted to buy something and scope out the scene. Trying not to be too obvious that we were two white missionary preachers, we strike up conversation with some worker and as he walks away for a second, I reach into this fruit basket to check out this weird lookin fruit that I have never seen. As it is in my hands, and I am observing it, the worker casually comes over and is like - hey you can’t touch that....I was like cool why not - there is no sign or anything….and then five seconds later I figure out exactly why he told me not to grab it. My hands started to burn and I look down and my hands are just covered in like these little tiny white prickles. I freaked out! I looked like a crazy person just screaming in Spanish/English - a little mix of both - and just throwing my hands around trying not to touch anything or the prickles would go in deeper. It was so funny - everyone was just laughing and like didn’t even care that it was so painful - haha – luckily we got to take each of the stickers out and still had time to go out and work.
Tuesday - best day ever! First of all, it was pouring rain!!!! It was way crazy like in the streets - flood status - and of course five minutes before leaving the apartment, we had no idea it would be so hard and intense, so we had like nothing to cover up and got soaking wet. We bought some candy and taught this worker guy and then went out and preached in the rain. Sadly, no one wanted to attend us - even this family of like 5, and we came in because they said ¨pasen¨ and immediately regretted it seeing 2 awk white chics just soaking wet in their house and were like oh wait, never mind, and wanted us to leave since we were soaked....haha - it was sad but super funny. We loved preaching and teaching in the rain even though it was a huge pain. As we were walking to a lesson, my sandal completely broke and was like flopping everywhere just a complete mess in the rain….so I had to like march to keep it from not tripping myself – hahaha - we were just along the main road just chipper as frick, laughing with my broken shoe sitch and waving and talking to everyone. Luckily my comp had this headband situation so she wrapped it around my foot so it would stay and we continued on. We had the best lesson with Estela that night! We took a member and they let us in right when we showed up because it was still pouring rain and the member we took is this like grandma diva - ha - she is so funny, and was such a trooper to go with us in the rain but she wasn’t too stoked about getting wet. So we get in and we first play games with the little kids and Bebby-the member- is like wild and playing games with us and we were all just laughing and it was a blast. The house is super little and humble and she kept getting up and like dancing – hahaha - it was great. Then we taught the plan of salvation and Estela loved it!!!! She asked a lot of questions and really felt so good about it all. It was one of the most warm and loving lessons I have ever been in. Just such a happy and warm feeling just filling ever corner of that little cement humble home. She is really excited about her baptism and said she is praying a lot, reading everything we give her, and she loved church when she went!!! She is golden!!
Saturday - such a good day! We are teaching this huge family of like 9, and they are such a party family and they were all there in the afternoon and we bonded. I honestly feel like they are my family!! Three of them have baptism dates and are reading and praying. Right before we left after we finished the lesson my comp asked them if we would do anything to help them and Marta the grandma was like-yes – you can help me dye my hair! Love it! So we dyed her hair and just chatted about life and the family and she seriously is just one of my favorite people ever!! Also we went to visit Estela so we could just see how she is doing and teach her a little bit and when we got to her house the little grandkids told us she had to leave. We were sad and just decided to write her a note, and told him to give it to her and we would pass another day. After we walked pretty far away, the kid came chasing after us and told us to come back and teach his grandma, because she wanted to see us, and had time. Miracle! So we come in and she is just GLOWING! She is so happy and just full of light and couldn’t stop smiling. We asked her how everything was going and she told us that she prayed and asked God if this was the true church and if she should get baptized and she got an answer!!!!! She said it was such an amazing experience and began to cry after her prayer and it wasn’t tears of sadness but of peace and love. We were SO happy and told her about the Holy Ghost and how she is recognizing it’s feelings and how she is getting answers. We taught her the restoration after that and the spirit was just so intense and at the end we both just looked at her and told her we loved her so much and all began to cry and we were just so grateful to be a part of her journey of finding the truth. She is so amazing!!! We are so happy!!!
So many times throughout my whole mission I just desire so much for any of you out there who read my emails; family, friends, strangers, whoever, to literally and actually know what I have been through each week……to understand what I have seen, felt, heard, learned, loved, enjoyed, missed, suffered, and I honestly wish any of you, if you have been on a mission or not, could know what my mission has been like and what it has meant to me. Since the day I got on my knees to ask my Heavenly Father in fervent prayer if I should serve a mission, and through receiving my very clear and undeniable answer, I have thanked God every day for getting me out here, and for helping me to make that big decision in my life. That day has truly changed me forever. That one simple answer I received for God has blessed me incredibly each day since then, and has formed me into the person that I know God and my Savior Jesus Christ want me to become.
A few weeks ago we had a zone meeting and there was a senior missionary couple from the states who had just arrived and are way cute. They both got up and introduced themselves and the husband knew a little Spanish but the wife knew close to nothing. They both got up there so humbly and literally wept, thanking each of us for our sacrifice of coming out here and doing what we do in the mission each day. It was so humbling and I was so grateful to see these people that are so much older and wiser than we are, and showing us that it truly is so hard for them as well to be in the mission. They expressed that since they have been in the mission themselves now, and have seen what the work is like, they can feel for their kids, grandkids, and other missionaries they know.
I cannot ask anyone out there, old or young, to come with me step by step and know exactly what I have been through in the mission, or what I have learned. As I come to the end of my mission, I have come to know with certainty that as much as we want others to understand exactly what we feel, and experience in this life, there is truly only one human being that has come to this earth that can say he actually knows what it was like because he has literally been there and suffered that, and he is our Savior Jesus Christ. As I have cried, and vented with members, strangers, investigators, companions, and inactives over the stress, hardships, trials, things that are unfair, burdens, disappointments, and heartbreaks that approach us in life, and in the mission, I realized that as much as we can look someone in the eye and give them love and comfort, we truly do not know where they have gone and what they have been through. Only Jesus Christ, our redeemer, has been to that low place, and is the only one that can help us up. He is the way and the life. He is the living water. He is our light and our hope. He is the one. I can testify with all my heart that Jesus Christ lives and he loves us. With every little thing I have been through in the mission, I know he has suffered and had the same experiences and through his help and his Atonement for me, I was and I am able to always go to him and to receive that burden lifted and to progress and become stronger. No one knows where I have been and no one knows what I have felt, but Jesus Christ. This mission not only changed me, but saved my life. I will never forget the things I have come to learn here in the mission, and I will treasure them in this life and the life to come. I owe everything that is ahead of me in this mortal life to these past 18 months, and I honestly want to thank each person out there for being such great examples and supports to me to get me out here. This mission means the world to me, and through each day of it, I have grown such a powerful testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ. He is real and he walks among us and is always with us if we accept him. I love him and I love his gospel, and I will dedicate the rest of my life to serving him faithfully and doing everything I possibly can to love and uplift others. I still have so much to learn, and I am still so imperfect - but through my weaknesses and humility I know that I am made strong. I love you all and I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for me.
Love Hermana Pond