Tuesday, January 28, 2014

WK105 '100 Lessons Learned in FFLM - Last Letter'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well today is definitely a bittersweet day but I wanted to drop ya'll a line of 100 Lessons that I Learned While in the FFLM!
If you are not unified with those around you, then nothing will work!
Baptism brings conversion to the Restored Gospel!
Your loyalty must always be first to God to receive joy!
We must fill our lives with things that carry eternal importance!
God loves ALL of His children!
How powerful and life changing doctrine can be!
Everything we do must have love as the motive behind it!
All men can change, no matter who or where they are!
The restored gospel is undoubtedly true!
Keeping the Sabbath Day holy brings the Spirit of God more into our week!
How much I truly do love my Father in Heaven!
The Spirit of God will lead us to where God needs us!
All things are possible with God!
Who you spend your time with is generally who you become!
Baptismal qualifications certify willingness and desires!
The reality of the Plan of Salvation!
The principle of compensation-sacrifice brings forth blessings!
Parents must teach their children correct principles!
Spiritual creation MUST  happen before temporal creation!
Through faith in Christ, ALL things are possible in accordance to Gods will!
Obedience is the first law of heaven!
Obedience is most powerful when it is done out of a love for God!
Faith in the absence of doubt!
The Plan of Salvation is real!
There are so many people waiting and searching for the Restored Gospel!
The Spirit of God can unify our families more than anything!
The importance of understanding the purpose behind what you're doing!
We can always pray to receive comfort and strength!
The Word of Wisdom brings an added measure of the Spirit with you!
If you truly desire to know the truth, you can know!
Father has a purpose behind everything He does!
The sacrament is a time where our weak things are able to be made strong every single week!
God will not allow you to be tempted above that which ye can bear!
Music is a way to convey feelings of the soul!
The eyes are the window to your soul, so keep eye contact!
The Spirit of God can humble even the hardest hearts!
Gospel principles all link and connect together in some way!
The most important events in our lives are the saving ordinances!
Through the ordinances of the gospel we feel the power of Godliness!
Baptism by water means nothing without receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost!
As we give ALL that we can, then the grace of Christ will be sufficient!
We must never doubt the Lord, because He is all knowing!
How to minister effectively to donkeys and horses!
It is only through enduring to the end that we can be saved in the Kingdom of God!
To BECOME like Christ, we must do that things we saw Him do!
How deep my love and gratitude runs for Christ!
The fullness of understanding doesn't come until the final report is given!
The Second Coming of our Savior is nigh!
The Lord is hastening His work NOW!
As members and missionaries work together then the work will move forward at an accelerated pace!
Your mission teaches you lessons to prepare you for the future!
Power comes as we wear our conversion to Christ on our sleeve!
Speak words that carry power and purpose!
An organization will follow their leaders example!
The First Vision carries amazing spiritual power!
If you want to win a man to your cause, you must first gain his trust!
The veil between this life and the next is very thin!
The General Authorities are all called of God!
To have maximal success as a leader, delegation is key!
The importance of eternal marriage and having children!
A doctrine is an eternal truth that states the reasons why behind a gospel topic!
A principle is an eternal truth that states the underlining details of a gospel topic!
All of our teaching must have some type of application!
When the Spirit tells us to do something, Father expects us to ACT immediately!
Being a leader is a huge responsibility and trust from Father!
Many times you receive revelation as you act in faith!
Prayer is a two way communication between God and man!
Father wants the immortality and eternal life of all of His children!
Everything Father wants us to do He will prepare a way for us to accomplish it!
Gods motive for everything He does is love!
Father MUST be our first priority in this life!
Fear God over man and Father will support you!
Without a vision you will perish!
Missionaries are literal Representative of Jesus Christ!
Preparation bring spiritual power!
Ability to discern the Spirit of God!
As we keep our covenants, then Father grants us spiritual power!
Remembrance will keep us out of the pride cycle!
The importance of humbly accepting counsel from your leaders!
The mission is structured like the Church is structured and the same principles apply!
Father will give us what we need exactly when we need it if we are faithful!
The importance of not procrastinating anything!
As we live a Christlike life, others will see Christ in us!
No temptation is too great to overcome!
Communication allows you to be on the same page as those around you!
There are some people that will only respond to your personality and abilities!
Hard work is one of the best antidotes for any problem!
In any situation, you can control it for the better!
The importance of helping others seek learning by faith!
The powerful bond that comes between you and someone you helped baptize!
You can be extremely productive as you eliminate all idleness!
If you help people understand the eternal importance behind things, they will do anything to achieve it!
The importance of following up on any commitment extended!
Father gives you the gift of tongues when it is expedient!
Gods attitude of urgency towards the work for His children's salvation!
Through Christ all our weak things can be made strong!
Satan works through addictions to bind us down to sin!
The temple is where you receive the fullness of the blessings of God!
When a temple is being built in an area, missionary work accelerates!
Well I could go on for days but I feel 100 Lessons Learned should be sufficient! One quick experience I wanted to drop ya'll today is linked directly to endurance. Since I came back to this area Elder Morgan and myself have been working with this amazing guy, who has absolutely been searching for the truth! For some reason or another something always came up that held him back from getting baptized! This transfer I set my mind on going ALL OUT and enduring completely to the end! I did all that I could, and as a result I know God blessed us tremendously because this past Sunday he was baptized! I was able to walk down into the waters of baptism and bring this Son of God a remission of his sins through going down under the waters then receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost! Afterwards I felt such gratitude unto Father for this HUGE miracle on my last Sunday!
I love you all and always remember the power of endurance!
Elder Pond

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WK104 'True and Eternal Growth'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well I am at a loss for words.. But today I wanted to share with you a portion of what my mission in the FFLM has meant to me, and how much it has changed my life.
This past week I was reflecting my on my first week in the MTC and how incredibly hard it was. Going from living the life of skiing every day and chillin with my friends, to studying the Gospel 24/7 and living the missionary schedule was incredibly tough. That first week I felt like two years would take an eternity and as a result there were many times that I wanted to leave and go home. But I am eternally grateful for my Father in Heaven and Him giving me the strength and willpower to endure and be where I am today. In the MTC I learned a lot about myself and more of my purpose in this life. Not only to help myself enter into the Celestial Kingdom but all those of my brothers and sisters around me.
Then likewise I remember my first baptism the first Saturday in the mission field. Once again feeling a little lost but as I saw Elder Shaffer bring this daughter of God into the waters of baptism I felt a change within myself that I did not expect. God taught me of the power of the Atonement that day and every baptism since has increased my knowledge of the power of the Atonement.
Recently Father has taught me a lot about endurance. One day I was studying how the prophet Joseph Smith endured especially in Liberty Jail. "My son, peace be unto thine soul. Thine adversity and afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high and thou shalt triumph over all thy foes!" So essentially as we endure Father will strengthen us to triumph over ALL of our foes [whatever we may struggle with or may be tough for us]. I have seen this principle play out now at the end of my mission here in the amazing area of Plantation. It has been tough but as we have endured we have been blessed to see many of God's children become converted unto the Restored Gospel of Christ. The biggest one has been our first baptism in this area together. It was someone Elder Wardell and myself taught a year ago when I was in this area last time. She came to church and then disappeared and began to avoid us. She had a lot of confusion because she studied with the Jehovah Witnesses for twenty years and couldn't figure out religion. But one rainy day Elder Morgan and myself knocked on her door, she let us in, and was baptized that Sunday! The huge miracle came after her baptism though, we began to see a light grow and grow within her as a result of her baptism. Then this past fast and testimony meeting she stood up and bore powerful testimony with tears in her eyes of the divinity of this work. How Father sent us to her and know she knows the Gospel is real and true.
Over the past two years Father has taught me an incredibly amount, which I am excited to share with you all here very shortly. But this upcoming week, we are going to work harder than we ever have and we know as we do so Father will teach me even more. Continue to give Christ all you have and fear God more than man.
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, January 13, 2014

WK103 'Impossible=False Doctrine'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well as far as I hear the entire United States is freezing cold while South Florida is heating up! Sorry to hear that because we are chillin in 80 degree weather down here in South Florida. As well to the weather, missionary work is heating up in the FFLM! Baptisms are falling out of the sky and I am extremely grateful for the tender mercies of Father to me now and my entire mission.
One HUGE miracle that we saw this week began on Monday! We got out of a crazy lesson with an investigator and just as we turned the corner there was a family. Instinctively and immediately I began to talk to them. We blessed them and they accepted everything extremely willingly! We finally got to follow-up with them on Wednesday and they were just as willing to repent and be baptized. At the end of the lesson the ten year old daughter pointed out some dirt on my shirt. I explained that it happens all the time because we are always on bikes. Then they tripped and said that two boys use to come over to there house all the time on bikes and they spoke perfect Creole. They use to always go to their church, the father of the family got baptized but they never got baptized and stopped going since they moved to Plantation. We lit up and explained that we are a part of the same church and then immediately testified of Christ and invited them to be baptized that Sunday! The 10 year old daughter was interviewed on Friday [her birthday], and then on Sunday six days after we contacted them she was baptized! Father blessed us tremendously this week, especially as we exercised our faith in the Lord!
So as children of God, let us never give up, but press forward with faith and then Father promises that He will provide a miracle for us. Nothing is too hard, with Father on our side.
With Love,

Elder Pond

Monday, January 6, 2014

WK102 ' POWER of Ordinances'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well another week bites the dust! Crazy to think how fast time flies out here serving the Lord. This week as well my heart is full of gratitude for the many miracles that the Lord helped us to be able to receive. So I wanted to talk about some of those miracles and then talk about the power of ordinances at an eternal perspective.
The biggest miracle day was Sunday after church as we went and visited everyone that didn't come to church. We went and visited a former investigator and she was sad that the missionaries stopped coming over and pumped to come to church and prepare for baptism. Then we caught up with an investigator that we lost contact with and set him to come to church next week. Then we ran into one of our investigators on the street chillin with her friends, we prayed and preached repentance and baptism to them. Set all five of them with baptismal dates. Then followed up with two investigators who didn't come to church and set them with baptismal dates. Then got back in contact with our baptism that was suppose to be baptized that day, established more expectations, and set him to come and get baptized on Tuesday! Then while biking ran into another investigator that slept in that day so he wasn't able to come to church that day. He expressed how badly he felt for not coming and how he definitely is going to make it next Sunday. Then we set him with a date. Then we were able to follow up with two potentials that we lost contact with. Extremely SOLID! Taught them how Christ can relieve our burdens as we follow him and are baptized. Set with dates! By the end of the night the Lord blessed us to set fifteen of his Children with baptismal dates. Then to close the night out we were biking by a less actives house that we hadn't been to in forever and the Spirit prompted me to text him and ask him if we could come over. He replied he was just getting home and that would be alright. When we went over he explained that right before we texted him he just got off the phone with his son and was extremely frustrated and cursing out God. When we texted him he took that as a sign that God is looking after him. After we left he said, "Thank you. I feel a whole lot better." All I gotta say is, God is REAL!
The other thing that I wanted to touch on in this email is kind of the purpose of this life. In Alma 34:32 we learn that we are here to prepare to meet God. Father loves us so much that He gave us steps or saving ordinances that as we partake of and endure to the end we can gain exaltation. Thus the most important things in this life are those saving ordinances; baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost, the sacrament, the priesthood, getting your endowment, and a temple sealing. So we must ourselves, do all we can to get to these ordinances and help our fellow brothers and sisters to do so. For this reason I have decided that I will be getting married at least six months after my mission! Haha just kiddin :)
But let us go see some huge miracles this week and help others come to the ordinances!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, December 30, 2013

WK101 'Eternally Important'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well today I am extremely excited to share all the miracles and tender mercies that Father has provided us with this week in celebration of the birth of the Messiah, Jehovah, Jesus the Christ himself.

This past week I have had a chance to reflect back on what we truly should reflect back on during Christmas season, the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. One of the biggest lessons I have learned on my mission in the FFLM is the change that comes when Fathers children partake of the enabling power of the Atonement through baptism. I stand as a witness that as surely as the Lord liveth, men can change through Christ the Lord. Whether you are rich or poor, married or widowed, male or female, all of Gods children can change. It is our purpose to help them to do so by inviting all to partake of the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ through baptism.

This past week we saw many huge miracles, I wanted to share a few with you:
On Christmas Elder Morgan and myself were biking and we knew we need four more blessings to be obedient and get eight by Wednesday. So we stopped and contacted these kids outside their house. They took  us to the backyard to their mother who we then blessed. Little did we know how prepared this family is! The mother was taught by missionaries in Haiti and always went to the church just never got baptized. After the blessing she expressed how she desires to prepare to be baptized and how she knows God sent us to her family to help them to do so, on Christmas Day too!!

Another huge miracle came when we went to visit the lady that got baptized last week, on Christmas Day as well. There was an old time friend visiting and immediately when we walked up we greeted him. But he was very standoffish and immediately walked away. So we proceeded and went inside to pray with and teach the family. Just as we were about to pray the man ran up and exclaimed that he wanted to pray as well. We left a blessing with him and immediately he felt the Spirit and opened up to us. He talked about all the tough things that have been happening in his life and how he has been turning to alcohol instead God. Baptism=January 5th without a doubt!

The last miracle that I want to share with ya'll happened in the last hour Saturday night before church on Sunday. It had been an extremely rough day and no one was extremely committed to come to church the next day. So at 8 PM the Spirit told us to park and take our bikes and ride to where Father wanted us to. So we did listening to the Spirit and we saw a man that we would always pass and invite to church outside his yard about to go inside. The Spirit whispered yell at him to wait for you, so I did so and we went over and spoke with him. It seemed like every word I spoke carried direct power from the Spirit of God. Well Sunday morning him and his family came to church and are now preparing to be baptized this Sunday!

Well as you can see I am extremely grateful to Father this past week for providing us with many mighty miracles! "God is a good God, YES HE IS!"

Well now looking towards the future the New Year of 2014 is immediately around the corner so in closing I wanted to leave you with a quote from President Uchtdorf:
“[A] regret people express was that they failed to become the person they felt they could and should have been. When they looked back on their lives, they realized that they never lived up to their potential, that too many songs remained unsung.... I am speaking of becoming the person God, our Heavenly Father, intended us to be... Our Heavenly Father sees our real potential. He knows things about us that we do not know ourselves. He prompts us during our lifetime to fulfill the measure of our creation, to live a good life, and to return to His presence... Why, then, do we devote so much of our time and energy to things that are so fleeting, so inconsequential, and so superficial? Do we refuse to see the folly in the pursuit of the trivial and transient? Would it not be wiser for us to ‘lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal’?  How do we do this? By following the example of the Savior, by incorporating His teachings in our daily lives, by truly loving God and our fellowman... We certainly cannot do this with a dragging-our-feet, staring-at-our-watch, complaining-as-we-go approach to discipleship... As sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of so much more. For that, good intentions are not enough. We must do. Even more important, we must become what Heavenly Father wants us to be... We do matter. We determine our happiness. You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness... The path toward fulfilling our divine destiny as sons and daughters of God is an eternal one. My dear brothers and sisters, dear friends, we must begin to walk that eternal path today; we cannot take for granted one single day. I pray that we will not wait until we are ready to die before we truly learn to live. (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference October 2012)

As President Uchtdorf stated let us fill this New Year with the eternally important things that matter most! As we do so, I so testify that our joy will be filled by the Lord himself.

With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, December 23, 2013

WK100 'Eternal Gifts of Love'

Dear Family and Friends!
Well today my heart is full of gratitude unto the King of King, the Lord of Lords, even Jesus Christ. I am eternally grateful for all that He has given me. Reflecting back on my life before my mission, and how prideful and stubborn I was, He continued to stay with me no matter what. On my mission I am eternally grateful that He has molded and transformed me into who He intends and knows I can become. I know and testify that through the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ all can be made whole, we just MUST rely upon Jesus Christ!

This week was as always full of miracles! The biggest miracle that we saw this week was Father creating a way to baptize one of His precious daughters. With her it has always been up and down in relationship to the Gospel, but as we kept faith in her and in Christ he prepared a way for her to enter into the waters of baptism. It was remarkable to see her smile as a result immediately after the baptism, finally it brought her complete JOY! We must never forget how the gospel gives us as God's children eternal joy and happiness.
One thing I have pondered a lot on my mission is Judgement Day. How we all will stand before the eternal Judge and Mediator, Jesus Christ, and be judged according to our works whether they be good or evil. No matter what mistakes we have made, all can be made whole through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. But only as we repent and align our will with Fathers will for us. Then when we stand before him to be judged we will "Return With Honor". So let us live our lives in a way in which we can Return With Honor to our loving Father who is in Heaven.

In closing with Christmas right around the corner, I want to invite you to truly fulfill the meaning of Christmas and give eternal gifts. Make someone feel good, help someone come closer to God, serve someone, show some love, etc.. Then next week in your letters to me write me about your 'eternal gift' experience! I look foreword to hearing from ya'll next week!

'Years ago I was impressed with the story “The Mansion” by Henry Van Dyke. It’s the tale of a well to do man by the name of John Weightman who has become a self made man of impressive wealth. He also believes that you should give for all to see, to obtain earthly results, and in his mind a place in Heaven. He says, “You have to be careful how you give, in order to secure the best results—no indiscriminate giving—no pennies in beggars’ hats!... Try to put your gifts where they can be identified and do good all around.”
He slips off in what seems like a dream or vision late Christmas Eve, and finds himself as if he had died and was walking with others, each given a mansion according to their works on earth. John Weightman is expecting the largest of all mansions for him, but the “Keeper of the Gate” brings him to a small rundown hut in the middle of a dirt lot, hardly big enough for a shelter. John is shocked and tells the “Keeper of the Gate” that there must be some mistake. This couldn’t be possible from all the charities he created, churches he built, hospitals he started, and schools constructed (all bearing his name of course).
The “Keeper of the Gate” then responded, “There is no mistake…We have used all the material that you sent us…The things you did on earth, were marked and used as foundation for the name and mansion of John Weightman in the world…Were not all these carefully recorded on earth where they would add to your credit…Verily, you have your reward for them… Would you be paid twice?”
John then asks, “They accomplished some good in the world. Does not that count for something?”
“Yes”, answered the Keeper of the Gate, “it counts in the world—where you counted it. But it does not belong to you here.”
“Tell me, then,” he cried, brokenly, “since my life has been so little worth, how came I here at all?”
“Through the mercy of the King”, --the answer was like the soft tolling of a bell.
John then asks, “What could I have done better?”
The Keeper of the Gate answers, “Only that good which is done for the love of doing it. Only those plans in which the welfare of others is the master thought. Only those labors in which the sacrifice is greater than the reward. Only those gifts in which the giver forgets himself.,' President Anderson!

With Love,
Elder Pond

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Dear Family and Friends!
So yes this week is transfer week and no surprises there, I am staying again here in Plantation to finish up Elder Morgans training. So to say the least I am extremely excited for the even greater miracles that we finna see here in the beautiful land of Plantation.
This past week has kind of been a blur because of how busy we have been, but I have pondered a lot on the truthfulness of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and how the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is right around the corner. The biggest time this comes to life is every time we go to the Book of Mormon musical. At this musical there are many wealthy people that attend and unfortunately many that have none or little faith in God and Jesus Christ. Elder Morgan and myself go about three times a week and pass out mormon.org cards and teach people about what we TRULY believe. Many times unfortunately people pass us up when we offer a card to learn more about Jesus Christ. And after pondering more on this how many times in this world people hear Christ and run away, when in all reality we need to be preparing for the Second Coming of Christ. Another powerful experience that we had at the musical was as they were coming out of the musical we were handing out pass along cards and this lady stopped us and began to talk with me. I began testifying of eternal families and of how the Book of Mormon brings us closer to Christ. She replied, 
"I am Jewish and always been, but I would give everything I have to know what you know." The Gospel is true!
But that's all I got for this week. I love ya'll! Live the gospel and it will change your life!
With Love,
Elder Pond