Monday, February 27, 2012

Wk 4 FL 'Survived 1st Week Mission Field' 2/27/2012

Dear Family and Friends,
You guys are all the best and I miss all of you guys soo much!! You guys are always in my thoughts and prayers!! But I survived my first week in the mission field and it was absolutely amazing!! Missionary work is incredibly hard though so the Bulldog was right about that one. I honestly fall into my bed at 10:30 at night absolutely exhausted.. Last night I was soo tired I fell into my bed and forgot to write in my journal and kinda fell asleep in my church clothes. So like the best two years I did it but it was on accident I promise! So nevertheless missionary work is incredibly hard but very rewarding!! My first week was one of the best weeks so far in my mission. It was actually wayy hard to leave the MTC cause I grew wayy tight with a lot of people in my branch and district and in our residence building but I was very excited to leave and get to work in the Lords work out here in Florida!! I was put into a zone called the Stuart Zone which is the furthest north zone in the Fort Lauderdale mission!! It use to be part of the Orlando mission, where T Call is serving, but like four months ago it became part of the Fort Lauderdale mission because of the new temple that is being built in Fort Lauderdale!! But I absolutely love it here. I'm in a town called Wellington and I'm in the Wellington South mission!! The first thing the bishop said to me is welcome to paradise and he was absolutely right!! I don't know if I could live here when I get older but I really do love it here!! Me and my trainer, Elder Shaffer, live in a duplex somewhere in Wellington but I have no clue where cause most of the time I have absolutely no clue where we are cause the roads are wayy confusing. Like there are no mountains to tell me what direction is north or anything like that so it's wayy hard. But something that is wayy cool is in the backyard of our duplex there is a huge river and a whole bunch of wildlife. Like everyone here has a pond, or a lake, or a river right in their backyard it is wayy sweet!! But I've seen soo many animals that I have never seen in my life. We see ducks, lizards, fish, turtles, and a whole bunch of exotic birds every single day!! I'll be sending tons of pictures soon so don't worry!!
But on my first week in the mission field Elder Shaffer and I have had a ton of success!! The very first night we got in Fort Lauderdale the President Anderson's wife cooked us an amazing meal which everyone enjoyed soo much cause we had been use to the crappy MTC food!! But then they sent us out to place Books of Mormon our very first night which I was kinda scared I'm not gonna lie.. But looking at where I'm at now is absolutely amazing!! I know that Jesus Christ has strengthened me throughout this past week soo very much!! Cause this week we went over to visit a girl named Shawntrecia Romoues who was supossed to be baptized a while ago but kept postponing the date of her baptism and wasn't sure if this is what she was suppose to do. But when me and Elder Shaffer went over there we had a wayy spiritual experience and after that she knew that she needed to be baptized to come closer to Jesus Christ and eventually gain eternal life and countless blessings in the life to come. So we baptized her this week!! My very first week out in the mission field we got a baptism and I was overcome with joy after!! I got to confirm her and give her the gift of the Holy Ghost and it was just unreal that I somehow helped her be able to come unto Jesus Christ and be baptized. They are all about baptism out here in Florida and they encourage us to get them baptized at least two weeks after we first met them!! Which I thought was crazy at first but now I know it is realistic and the wayy that the Lord asks us to do his missionary work! He also asks us to invite investigators to baptism the very first time we meet them. Which once again I thought was insane but I have seen it work!! I extended baptismal dates to three different people and they all accepted!! Elizabeth who is the most amazing 84 year old lady!! She loves Jesus Christ and loves prayin with us. And she's bein baptized on the 11th of March hopefully!! I also extended a date to a guy named Amos. I know like the prophet Amos it's a wayy sweet name!! But his wife and five kids were baptized last week so we've been teaching him and he committed to be baptized on the 11th as well. And then the best one is a guy named Taquan!! Taquan is a wayy sweet guy that has a strong testimony and can't wait to be baptized!! But unfortunately he can't be baptized till April 14th because he's on house arrest but I can't wait till April 14th for him!!
And that's all of the dates and baptisms that we had this week!! But we are teaching some wayy sweet investigators and I love them all soo much!! The culture down here is wayy diverse too!! Like I hardly see any caucasion people and the names of people down here are wayy black and they all have a ton of swag so don't worry I'm learning how to get some more swag don't worry!! I have to go but I love all of you back at home and I will talk to you all next week. Anyone please feel free to write me letters they really help a lot!! My address of my duplex is 1425 Riverside Circle, Wellington, FL, 33414. And to the people I haven't written back yet I'm sorry I promise I am writing you today and you will be getting your letters this week!! I love you all and can't wait to mob it up with everyone in two years just like old times!!
Elder Pond

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week 2 MTC Letter - 2/14/2012

Family and Friends!!
Well great news everyone in my district made it threw week two and now we already leave the MTC in a week from today!! It honestly seems like the other day we all arrived here and now we are preparing to leave!! On the 21st we leave the MTC at 3 AM to fly to Dallas and layover there. So I'll be in Texas and I'll wave hello to Marco while I'm there!! And then we have a two hour layover where I get to call my family before I fly into the Fort Lauderdale airport and meet my mission president. I'm just pumped for the dinner cooked by the mission presidents wife that night so I can actually eat some real food for once in three whole weeks!! And it's Valentines Day, but no love can be shown at all here in the MTC!! But I wanna thank everyone who has written me letters so far, we honestly pray for letters here that's how much they mean!! But if anyone wants to write me this next week make sure you send it so it will get here at least on Monday cause otherwise I will be on a flight to Florida and they will have to transfer it to me which will take forever so yea. And after the 21st you can send letters to the mission office that everyone has or once I know my first area address I will let everyone know. But thank you soo much I hope everything is going well at home and miss all my family and friends soo very much!! You are all in my thoughts and prayers every single day.
But this week was soo much better I have been inspired and uplifted by the spirit that I feel here in the MTC. This is an inspirational place to be!! But I wanna share two powerful powerful experiences that have strengthened me soo very much this past week!!
The first one is of a talk by Elder Bednar that we watched on Sunday that he actually came to this MTC and gave to the missionaries on Christmas Day. This was a life changing talk that I wish everyone could just hear!! But he talked about the Character of Christ and how Christ turns outward. When we start thinking about ourselves, and how hard our lives our, and just start getting selfish, which happens with me all the time. Those are the times when Christ turns outward and thinks of other people. Like when he was betrayed and about to pay for all the sins of everyone on the cross, it was then when he healed one of the gaurds that held him captive ear. Christ was the ultimate example of turning outward and showing love to everyone no matter what their circumstance was.
The other experience I had happened last night when one of the members of my district was having a very hard time cause everyone was recieving mail almost every day and all he has recieved is an email that was a paragraph long from his Aunt and Uncle. Not even a letter from either of his parents. So I offered to give him a preisthood blessing and he gratefully accepted. My first ever preisthood blessing I know!! And after that blessing I could not tell you a word that I said, and I know that is because it was not me talking it was Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father using me as their mouthpeice to comfort Elder Barker!! It was one of those times where you feel like you are floating and kinda spinning and your mind is completely empty, yet your mouth keeps talking somehow it was soo cool!! And then after the Spirit was amazingly strong it strengthened my testimony of the power of the preisthood and I hope it does the same for everyone who reads this!
Well while I've been here it has snowed twice and once was a huge snowstorm and it was SOO HARD to just sit in my class and watch the slopes get pounded with snow!! So ElBell, Ppayne, V, and everyone else I expect a letter telling me how amazing the pow was!! But everyone that is preparing for their mission and getting kinda scared about coming to the MTC don't be at all!! The first week really sucked I'm not gonna lie.. But once I got use to it I absolutely love it here!! Getting up at 6:30 kinda sucks still so I'm hoping that I get use to that and I know I will!! But I really look foreword to being able to study out of the scriptures and preach my gospel!! I also love teaching our investigators here. Even though they are fake and just role playing me and Elder Lee have grown to love all of them and have grown so much in being able to use the Spirit while teaching it's unbelievable. I know the mission will change me and I'm kinda scared of that now.. Like I love Pond so hopefully I'm still wayy weird when I get back!! Oh and we get a Devotional tonight so I'm prayin that a member of the twelve comes so I'll keep you all updated!!
Oh and Corb when you get here you will love your branch the presidency is absolutely amazing!! Except you'll be here for twelve weeks that's like one eighth of your mish!! But my branch has all the Thai missionaries so their are currently three Thai branches and then two English speaking districts, ours going to Fort Lauderdale and Jamacia, and then the other district is going to OKC and most of them are huge Thunder fans!! So I've been telling them that they have to convert Kevin Durant and Westbrook while they are there!! But the Thai missionaries have been teaching me some Thai too!! I don't know how to spell them but So-I-Di-Cup and Pom-Ra-Coon are some Thai that they've been teaching me!! So I'm even learning other languages while I'm here it's soo sweet!! And I know some Cambodian as well!! Chom-Weap-Suea means hello and Le-Hi means goodbye!! But it's like a huge family here in the MTC everyone just takes care of each other!! Even though a mission is so far the hardest things I have ever done in my life and one of the biggest sacrafices, I know that it will be worth it!!
Zac you better be taking good care of Rueben for me or else that's all I'm sayin!! Rueben is a champ especially now that his heater actually works!! Oh and I wanted to do one thing that I forgot to do in my final facebook post for two years. I totally forgot to thank Big V for all he has done for me cause I toally forgot him in that post and I feel wayy bad!! But V I love you mahn and you'll be an amazing missionary I know it!! But I have to go everyone so please write me and know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers every single day!! I owe everything to all my friends, family, and of course Jesus Christ, Heavnely Father, and the Holy Ghost so thank you guys soo much!! I would be no where without you all and you all mean the world to me!!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week 1 MTC Letter - 2/7/2012

Hello Family and Friends!!
Ahhh I don't even know where to start!!!! This week has been insane and probably one of the hardest weeks of my entire life. Just like the Bulldog said in his first letter home I lay in my bed at night absolutely exhausted!! Here at the MTC they just try to shove as much information at you in the shortest amount of time possible and then in three weeks send you out the door and say good luck in Florida elders. Things are getting much better though as the days go by. The first week everyone here uses the term that it's like drinking out of a fire hose, some of it goes in your mouth but most of it goes all over your face!! And I am SOO ready for "the weeks to turn into days here" cause everyone says they will and I have kinda been seeing that. But the first couple of days the days felt like weeks so I'm prayin that I will get use to it and I know I will. I just want to clear up a rumor that everyone thinks "the MTC food is the best food out of the entire mission". Cause that is not true at all the food isn't that good to tell ya the truth.. You have to look for things that taste good in the food and there are some meals that aren't good at all.. So I am really looking foreword to getting out to Florida and actually being able to eat some normal food!! My companions here in the MTC are amazing! I got put in a trio because the other kid who was suppose to be in our district is stuck in his hometown of England cause his visa got denied to go to Jamaica. Yea I know and person from England going to Jamaica its soo sweet!! We actually have an Elder from England that is going to Jamaica in our district named Elder Barker. He is an inspired inspired man!! And I think it would be wayy sweet to see his English accent mixed with a Jamaican accent! Everytime I talk to him I think of Mr. Bulldog Ford because that's where the big man is right now!! But my companions names are Elder Lee and Elder Wood. Elder Lee is from Davis High and played soccer. Elder Wood is from Overton, Nevada and played basketball in high school so at least I have companions that like playing sports which I am very thankful for!! I also got made district leader of our district with six elders and four sisters!! I got made district leader the second day I was here so it was a little bit overwhelming at first but I love it now! District leader is a huge responsibility but I truly love our district so it helps a lot. Our branch president, basically our bishop, is President Roach. He is an inspired man as welll and carries a great spirit with him!! While here in the MTC I've seen a bunch of homies from high school like,
Elder Shawn Herman (The Hermanator): I saw Shawn the first day I got here and I was soo happy to see him!! haha. I ran up to him and gave him and handshake and said Shawn how are ya!? And of course Shawn just replied, It's Elder Herman here Elder Pond!
Elder Cayde Pearce RootHOFF: It was amazing to see Cayde as well since I hadn't seen him in forever and we chatted for a while just catching up!!
Elder Kunkle: I actually saw a huge change in Kunkle and totally saw the light of Christ in him!!
Elder Brock Bennion: It always puts a smile on my face to see Mr. Brock Bennion!! He's such a great man and always lifts my spirits up!!
I love it here in the MTC and am SOO greatful for all the blessings and tender mercies that the Lord has given me and my family while I have been here!! Every single time I am feeling a little bit discouraged or stressed I feel comforted by the spirit and with other things that the Lord puts into my life that I am soo very thankful for!! Always remember that no matter what the Lord is standing by your side lifting you up!! For all my friends that will enter the MTC here soon live life up while you can and prepare for one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life!! And everyone please write me it honestly helps soo much!! The days fly by when I get letters from my friends and family so please please please write me I appreciate it!! Either threw for free, or threw the mailing system. I miss you all and can not wait to here from all of you this week, hopefully, and then next P-Day!! My P-Days are Tuesdays so that is when I am able to write to everyone!! I love you all and make sure to mob it up while I'm out here serving the Lord. Mobbin for life. You don't know, you don't know. Mobber out!!
With Love,
Elder Pond