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!
LOVE HERMANA POND