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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nearing the End

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

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Belly Dancing, Spiders, and Sunsets - Joy in 2012

Monday January 9, 2012

Family! How is everyone and how is life? I just hope everyone is so dang happy!!! Life is good!!!! All I have to say is…ARABE DANCING…

Hahaha – good story: So there is this member that I like adore and worship who is close to my age and a cute little newly wed, and we just bond and love each other so much. She fed us dinner this week on Saturday, and we show up to eat, and she not only has an ASADO for us but also blasts a Shakira song and comes out in like a belly dance costume-because its like her hobby here (in Argentina it’s a big deal, and very popular) - and she just starts busting out and dancing for us! It was SO bomb. I just loved it. We have been bugging her forever to show us and she finally did it and it was even better because she is like 4 months pregnant so she has this cute belly, and was like moving it around dancing all glam. Hahaha - it was way fun! It was such a good day!

Oh and P.S . - we are in Argentina right – and you never know what is going to happen next - so one night we are chatting on the phone with someone and just laying on our beds and I look down and this huge spider – like HUGE - is crawling up my leg. I FREAKED! Then my companion was all nervous, and is laying there for 2 minutes and I look above her and a huge spider is like about to fall and make a web on her FACE! It was way intense and super poor and ghetto. We laugh about it though. Also we are walking to a cita one day and I am just like conversing with my companion and she is like ¨wait!¨ and I am like cool what - and she is like open your mouth and I had a huge bug on my tooth…..gross! haha we are so Argentine love it-just bugs everywhere……in our beds and flying into our mouths and its cool because it doesn’t even phase us anymore - we just laugh about it now. That is when you know you are getting old in the mission…..When you go into your humble little shower that has no shower curtain, and is like right by the toilet, barely any water coming out, and you have to use a huge human size squeegee to clean up the water that sprays all over the floor – and while you are using it a huge bug is crawling up it. Instead of screaming and considering the fact that you are in such a poor and lame condition, you calmly and happily acknowledge the fact that you actually have hot water that day. Love life and love Argentina. It is really humbling and truly, on the daily, you are counting your many blessings. Family and friends-please…count your MANY blessings: carpet, air conditioning, real showers, good food, functioning toilets, nice clothes, clean houses, apartments, cars, real mops, etc.

Also-we have been treated pretty good in this country so far-no one has really given us a hard time or mocked and ridiculed us for our religión, and one day we were walking in the street and some remi driver (taxi driver?) guy sticks out his head as we walk by and screams at us super loud and tells us we are going to hell….haha over it. So we are driving to look for investigators on Sunday and while we are driving in this remi we realize its the SAME guy. Oh my gosh, I was so scared for him to say anything stupid to the investigator so I tried just ask him about his family and life but he still was super into talking about religión. In the end, he ended up being super nice and respecting us and as we got into the church in relief society safely with the investigator, he like pokes his head in and gives my companion her change and shouts, ¨Bendiciones!!!¨ haha it was super funny!

I am really happy right now. We are finally seeing a little fruits from our intense labors. Like always, we had a ton of opposition and trials this week and a ton of people that we were teaching and we felt were promising, all dropped us! I could not believe how much this was happening to me at so close to the end of my missión and it was really frustrating me and really getting me down. After a lot of prayers and really healthy good chats and communication with my companion, we sorted things out and just went out and got after it. We know that we were being tried and just had to keep fighting and working hard. We had a miracle!!! We found this golden lady Estela and she is super doing well at her commitments and seems really interested. We went one day with the elders this week and she accepted a baptism date! She also came to church all three hours on Sunday and loved it, and the members were really good to her! Also one of my favorite investigators, Javier, finally got work off and came to church and loved it! Also, our missión president was there with his wife - no pressure right! Haha but it was good and I taught the principles of the gospel class and the lesson was way good! They were both impressed and left really happy. Success!! So it was a really good week. One day, we were sitting on a curb as the sun was setting in this cute town, with all these colored cobblestone houses lining the road as it curves up a mountain, and as we taught this tattooed shirtless man and his wife outside, with the breeze on my face, and as we testified of the gospel and promised them that families are forever, I was just so content and so happy to be here. I love these little tender mercies in the mission and these happy moments where I just look around me, put everything on pause, take it in, and love every second of it. It feels so good to be here.

My companion and I have learned a ton this week about humility, and patience. They truly go hand in hand. I adore and cherish the talk by Uchtdorf about patience from the May 2010 ensign. I love in the talk when he says,

¨Without patience, we cannot please God; we cannot become perfect. Indeed, patience is a purifying process that refines understanding, deepens happiness, focuses action, and offers hope for peace.

Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well! Impatience, on the other hand, is a symptom of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed. It arises from the all-too-prevalent condition called “center of the universe” syndrome, which leads people to believe that the world revolves around them and that all others are just supporting cast in the grand theater of mortality in which only they have the starring role.¨

When we are impatient and always wanting what we want now, we are selfish. We are not trusting God and knowing that his timing is different than ours. We need to do everything we can to follow the counsel we find in Col 3:12:

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;”

And in James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

We are the ¨elect of God!¨ We must come to the depths of humility and know that only through patience and trusting in Him, we will be able to grow ourselves, reach our goals and highest potential, and feel that God is pleased and happy with us for what we have done. We cannot control the universe. We cannot control how anyone acts or feels and we can definitely not control outcomes. We can do our best, do our part, and always know that God is going to bless us, but we really need to let things go and stop worrying. No one is perfect and God does not expect us to do everything. He knows how life works and he understands. He is so happy for us and loves us for everything we do for him and his son Jesús christ. Let us accept our weaknesses and learn from them. Let us be patient in all things so we can understand when Uchdorf says, ¨ Our Heavenly Father knows what good parents come to understand over time: if children are ever going to mature and reach their potential, they must learn to wait.¨

In the new ensign from last conference, I loved when Elder Cook said,

¨There are many kinds of challenges. Some give us necessary experiences. Adverse results in this mortal life are not evidence of lack of faith or of an imperfection in our Father in Heaven’s overall plan. The refiner’s fire is real, and qualities of character and righteousness that are forged in the furnace of affliction perfect and purify us and prepare us to meet God.¨

Even though patience and waiting can be hard at times, family and friends, we are preparing ourselves to meet God someday. Our time is now to learn everything we need to learn to become perfected and enter into our loving fathers presence someday. It takes time and waiting to reach potential and greatness. We must never get discouraged. Although we do not understand sometimes, the mighty creator of this wonderful and marvelous universe does get it and has a purpose for it….specifically for you and others of his children. I invite you all this week to remember the scripture in D and C 123:17,

17 Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

I love you all and cherish everything you do for this gospel, for your children, your friends, your communities, the missionaries in your area, the missión work, and for our most merciful and kind Heavenly Father. Keep up the good work!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas Time!

January 2, 2012! 1/2/12

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Honestly, who ever thought it would come. It’s a new year!!! I hope everyone is super stoked with their goals already, and that you are just pumped to do great things in life. So it has been a great week! I think I can truly tell all of you that this week I have worked the hardest I have ever worked in the mission……literally! We are both just so dead from talking to everyone and running around every second to find people to teach and progress. I am not sure when we will see the fruits of these labors, but we know that God is going to bless us soon for all of our hard work!! I love my companion so much. She is seriously such a big blessing in my life, and especially at the end of my missión. She is really helping me push myself, and is motivating me even more than ever to figure out who I am. Love her and love bonding!!!
- So as missionaries, we often do weird things to contact people. This week we might have helped this overweight super humble argentine woman chase her goat all around this dirt field. I about died watching my companion just drop her bag and start chasing it saying ¨this is a huge Ammon sitch!!! We will catch it and she will be super impressed and want to hear our message.¨ hahaha - I just followed her and we neither of us had success, and in the end, she didn’t even end up talking to us or thanking us, but it was way fun and funny. We went back to chat with her one day and take pics with the goat. She and her two older parents were blasting argentine crazy music outside their house and just beaming at us with their wide toothless mouths with chickens running loose everywhere. We had to scream so that they could hear and understand us with the loud music, and all of them seemed deaf. We just ended up taking pics and peacing out. Love awk stuff like that.

- As we were teaching this old lady outside her house earlier in the week, these two kids kept passing by on horses and were like racing….it was so cool, and I was just so amused at the fact that in this chill neighborhood, kids would just ride by super loud on horses and it was considered normal. I watched them ride by and this cute lady chatting with us all about every detail of her life, and I just took in this moment with so much gratitude and love. It was one of those ¨ I am never going to forget this experience¨ kind of moments. I love wild Argentina and everything that goes down here on a daily basis.

- We ate lunch with these investigators this week, and as we were chatting and eating, typical awkward me, I was cutting my milenesa, a huge piece of meat, and of course I like do it weird and cut it wrong, and it just goes flying off the plate across the room! Haha - everyone was laughing and making fun of me and on top of it all I was rocking the bun on my head and I just looked like a joke. After we ate, the mom offered to like paint my nails – haha - and she busts out this stuff and we just paint nails together and eat ice cream and laugh. It was a way good time.

- New Years Eve: my companion and I ate some poor food alone, blasted EFY “Shine The Light” music, and just went out to the roof and watched all the Fireworks go off, and talked about this last year, and what is to come this new year. It felt good to be here in Argentina, and I just wouldn’t trade that moment for anything.

-So like I have said; this has been the most intense week of my life! We are finding way good people to teach, but they are not really going anywhere as fast as we would like them to. As always we practice patience! We taught Marta this week about baptism, and the Book of Mormon, and she really has so many good questions, and wants to know the truth. She has a huge family and really wants to do what is right to please God but lacks the strength and will to do the things we suggest for herself. Every time we are there, she feels the spirit and knows we have something that she has never felt before…. and she wants it, but is still not progressing too
much. We are also teaching Genoveva, who feels such a strong peace with us, and said that we are an answer to prayers, and we have changed her life but she still, as well, does not have the ¨time¨ nor the will to do her part and obtain this everlasting peace for herself. We taught a lady that has heard from the elders a ton and knows a lot about the church and right when we began to teach she said, ¨Look I don’t do commitment, and just know that I am comfortable with where I am at.¨ We talked to her a lot about the importance of commitments, especially with God, and how it can bless and help her to be a better wife and mother. It is almost like she knows but does not care enough to do and change. She doesn’t really get the concept of priorities and responsibility. We also found this super humble family, and the mom is a widow, and we taught them about the plan of salvation, and about baptism. They accepted everything they heard and enjoyed all we taught, but when it came down to commitment and them actually having to do something, they didn’t seem quite excited. We showed up Saturday, and they were all out front, downing beers. They offered us some….haha - awk - but we tried committing them to go to church and you can imagine how that ended.

-Don’t worry…we did have some good lessons with some promising people! We contacted a woman one night, and gave her a Book of Mormon. We found out that exactly a year ago, her whole house burned down, and she lost everything, and even her husband. She is such a humble and sweet lady, and when we passed to teach her, her daughter was there and they attentively listened to the restoration and even had questions! It was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever had, and both my companion and I were like shaking with the spirit…it was so intense! We left on cloud nine, and even though they are unable to come to church this Sunday, we pray they will progress soon! We also knocked this ladies house and right when she saw us, she was not interested and was completely rejecting us. We somehow softened her heart, by just being really loving and friendly people, and she let us in and we got to teach her! It was so cool to feel and see the change in people so quickly once they know and can literally recognize that we are different and we represent the Savior, and can help them bless and change their lives. She felt the spirit, and we left her home with a prayer, and she is definitely excited for us to come back! We also found this cute family and taught them about how families are forever and sadly the mom did not accept a baptism date but the 12 - year old daughter did, and she is definitely excited to come to church and learn more!

- So you can all imagine we are a little bugged and frustrated with these people….haha - I just don’t understand how people can feel the power and spirit of God touch their hearts to tell them that the things we bring to their door and teach them are true, and then they do NOTHING about it. It is like no one understands the true definition and purpose of the word COMMITMENT. I have thought a lot about this and really pondered on the real reason why we even have commitment and what is the importance of it. I love the scripture in Deuteronomy 26 that states,
16 ¶This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes
and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.
First of all, it is the Lord that has commanded us to not just listen to the things he has told us but to DO them so we can be blessed. In Psalms 37 it says, 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

- We must commit ourselves to the Lord and do the things he tells us so he can be our light and guide in our life decisións and help us along the way. I find it so interesting that the things of the góspel are so simple but yet so hard to do sometimes. If we know that we will receive more help and blessings in our life, them why can we not just follow the counsel of the book of James chapter 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

- If we would just take a second to wrap our heads around the concept of the gospel, and understand that because it is commitment, responsibility, priority, hard work, sacrifice and devotion, we would get that not only for our own benefit but for our children. We want our children to grow up and progress in this life being happy, successful, and reach our highest potential. Everything about the góspel is spiritual growth and positive experience. It is for our benefit.

- These so called ¨annoying¨ or ¨burdens¨ of commitments we have, are actually there to bless and help us in our lives, and more importantly to be successful parents to this rising generation. If we want out kids to learn how to make good decisions on their own, learn why it is important to commit to good things, and stick to them to the end, regardless of how long or how hard it is to accomplish them, we would do great things in our communities, and in society and the world. We would master celestial goals and reach them. We would comprehend what accountability is and we would accomplish great things. In Omni it says: “Come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him…..and as the Lord lives, you will be saved.”

- God loves all of us and wants us to be happy, and as a living witness and testimony of it, I can say that through action, commitment, responsibility, and having patience in the whole process of receiving what we are working for, we define what true happiness is, we feel it, love it, embrace it, and will forever cherish it. Each day it takes a lot of work to experience this true happiness, but it is ALWAYS in the end worth all the work and effort.

- Let me quote yet again by an apostle of God, Elder Uchtdorf, who has so clearly and wisely said that, ¨diligently DOING the things that matter the most will lead us to the savior of the world.¨ What a blessing it is to be a part of the truth. How lucky we are to understand the góspel. How important it is then to live it daily. I cherish every part of this true church, and I pray with my heart and soul that we can do all we can to master the concept of commitment and live it as much as we possibly can. I love life and I love you all. With a new year in front of us, let us
remember the profound words of Jacob, and follow them- “O be wise; what can I say more?” (Jacob 6:12).

Love always,

Hermana Pond

Sunday, January 1, 2012

December 26th, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

I hope everyone had a magical weekend! It was pretty glam over here in Argentina…won’t even lie. First of all I forgot to mention that it was transfers!!! A week ago….haha - so I am still in La Falda and my new companion is HERMANA MASTERS! She is from LA and so bomb and I just love her so much. We bond!!! So like always I have a ton of feelings and events to express and share as to what exactly is going down in tender little La Falda as of now.

So has anyone ever seen ¨500 Days of Summer¨…?

Remember how in the movie at the beginning the narrator clearly states that the movie will not likely end up being your typical love story and won’t end as happily as we would hope….so I feel like what I have to share today is the same. And yes, I have gone through those same feelings we experience in the theatre at the end where you are a bit confused, and wonder why the typical ¨everything works out thing¨ doesn’t pan out. So the first day of the transfer we go out to work and we decided to go pass for Belkis and her kids to see how things are and where they are at. We prayed and thought a lot about it and felt it was good to just show up and not call. We show up to her door, and as we clap our hands out front (Argentine doorbell) she pops her head out and does not look exactly excited to see us. I get a sick feeling in my stomach and offer a quick prayer hoping all will go well. It doesn’t. She comes out and just says everything that you do not want to hear and when the words come out, it is honestly hard to believe that it is this person you feel you know so well that is saying it all.

Have you ever been dumped….have you ever just got looked in the face after so many magical and unforgettable moments together with someone, and just got completely heart broken where it is just too much to bear in one moment and its hard to take it all in when it is all happening….

That is exactly what I was going through in this moment. My companion was new, and had no idea what was going on, but as this woman told me she never wanted us to pass again, the church was not for her after all, and she did not want any of the books we had given her. I just wept…literally tried to hold it back but the tears were just falling and I just wondered over and over….why? what was happening…?

I knew without a doubt in my mind that this woman knew, that this IS the truth and she has felt it many times. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that Satan could take such a precious and prepared woman for the gospel, give her all this opposition and problems, and literally just grin with joy to see her reject it all and fall. We found out that she lost the baby…..so that didn’t really help, and made her feel confused as to why right after she accepted to keep it, it left her. I was devastated and heart broken. Feeling confused, I stood there for a long time not knowing what to say…..but after a while, I just felt so much peace and I felt myself receiv the strength of God and the loving help and hand of Jesús Christ and just accepted what was happening. This lady is golden, and sadly, just as she had passed it up before, and she had felt it was brought back to her again, she just doesn’t have the strength and courage at this time in her life to accept it, but I know someday she will. I have never felt the love of God so strongly for someone in my whole misión than with this lady, and I just had to accept the rejection, respect her decisión, and walk away. I testified with all my soul countless times that this is the truth, that Christ is the way to happiness, and she couldn’t neglect or deny it.

It was tough….and truly, I still do not know why this all happened, but I have learned, like in ¨500 Days of Summer¨, maybe in the end it doesn’t work out the way we want to but it always ends up working out. If the guy in the movie didn’t get dumped and crushed by Summer, he would have never fulfilled and accomplished his dreams of becoming an architect, and wouldn’t have met the dreamy girl at the end named Autumn. Things happen and they really hurt but we always need to accept circumstances as they are, learn from them and grow, move on, and always move up. I sat for a while on a bench in tears still completely lost and crushed and confused about what we should do next, but after a few seconds, we decided to lift up our heads, and look for the reasons that our plans were changed, and people were dropped from our lives, and what God had in store for us next. Instead of sulking, thanks to an amazing companion and lots of prayers, we went out this week and worked our butts off. We talked to everyone and enjoyed every moment preparing for Christmas, and teaching people of the Savior.

-We found and taught a mother of 3, whose husband had recently left her. The day she almost lost it, we ended up being an answer to her prayers. She is lost and confused and feels like financially, she has everything she needs in life to be happy, but she is filled with sorrow, anguish, and confusion, and wants to find the truth and be healed.

-We knocked the door of a woman that watches over an older lady and a handicapped older man who have both been sick and in bed for years. We sang “Silent Night¨ for them and the spirit filled the room and tears filled the eyes of all of us as the older handicapped man sang along
with us and light filled his eyes. They told us that because of their illnesses, no one wants to be around them or visit them and they would be alone for the holidays. They were grateful for the love we brought into their home and kindness and service.

-We passed by a grandma of a member and she was all alone and let us in. About 30 years ago her daughter committed suicide around this time in the holidays and it is still such a painful and hard time each year to get over what happened. We testified of the Book of Mormon and the plan that God has for us and she was filled with comfort. We all felt the spirit and she committed to come to church with her grandson and learn more.

-On Christmas Eve, we found a mother and son to teach in the morning the Restoration, a whole family of 6 in the afternoon the plan of salvation, and a struggling single mother who has an 20 year old alcoholic son about Christ. Being Christmas time, we focused on the Savior and how he was the only way we can personally be healed in this life and save our families lives so we can be with them for the eternities. Each person we taught seemed so grateful for our sacrifice and service during the holidays and really felt the spirit and the presence of God fill their homes as we testified boldly and with surety of the truth.

The world really lacks spiritual truth. The world fails to completely comprehend the importance and significance of the Christmas season. The world is in need of the Light of the Savior.

On Sunday in church, with like 10 people in attendance, my companion and I both had the privilege of speaking and we focused on Christmas and related it to missionary work. I shared in Matthew 2 about the kingsmen and how they needed that guidance and help of the light of
the star to find the king of Isreal, Jesús Christ. I Shared also in John 12:46 when Christ told us that he was the light of the world and whoever accepted and followed him would never be in darkness. Just like the kingsmen who followed the star to find their Savior and king, we too have looked to the Savior who is the light and the way and we have been filled with exceeding joy. Because we are the members and disciples of Jesús Christ, we have the responsibility and blessing to be that star to all the people of the world and guide and lead them to Jesús Christ to find great tidings of peace and joy. We are the light of the world! (Matt 5:14) and we must let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works, and glorify our father which is in heaven (matt 5:16). I found a talk that I loved today by Eyring called ¨Walk in the Light¨, and it talks a lot about opposition and there is someone who knows that we are special and have this light to give to others and how we can overcome satan, strengthen our light, and bless and benefit others with it.

¨That enemy of your soul knows you and your goodness. He knows that if he can turn you away from walking in the light. He can both capture you and stop you from helping others along the journey. He knows how good you are and your power to teach and influence hundreds of
Heavenly Father’s children in this life—and thousands over the generations that will follow your path. If he can get you to wander away from the light on your journey, he can do harm and bring misery to many.¨

¨By the Spirit of Christ and by the Holy Ghost, you may walk confidently in whatever difficulties will come. Because you are so valuable, some of your trials may be severe. You need never be discouraged or afraid. The way through difficulties has always been prepared for you, and you will find it if you exercise faith. When you walk in the light, you will feel at that moment some of the warmth and the happiness that will finally be yours when you are welcomed home again with the hundreds and perhaps thousands of others whom you will bring with you, who have walked in the light because you did.¨

I also can testify that as believers in Christ, we are that light of the world and it is our duty to shine it to others, during this magical season of Christmas, and all year long, to bless and benefit the children of men and progress and learn ourselves. Walk in the light and never let it burn out. Shine it to all the people you encounter and let them know the reason and the ¨why¨ you stand so tall, feel so much peace and joy in life, and change and bless their lives forever. I love this work-I will not say it enough-and I testify without a doubt and with all the surety of my heart that Jesús Christ lives and the gospel is true.

I love you all and thank you for your countless prayers, your examples, your love, and support. Happy New Year!!!

Love, Hermana Pond