Monday, March 26, 2012

Wk 8 FL 'SOO CLOSE' 3/26/2012

Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you all for your mail this week I absolutely love coming home from a long day of missionary WORK, which I absolutely love, and there is mail waiting in our mailbox for me it's the best!! Ahhhhhhh but it is wayy hard to type right now so this email might be kinda short sorry!! We are running wayy low on time cause we have been fishing, going to wallmart, mcdonalds, visiting a less active for lunch, and we have to clean the apartment cause we have house inspections tomorrow morning so yea! And this week I accidently got in my very first bike crash so my hand hurts but of course we are still getting out and working hard no matter what!! And mom don't worry my hand will heal and I'll be perfectly fine. And yes I do get your mail mom, dad, zac, and gabbe it's just wayy hard cause we don't get much free time to write home and do everything that we need to do on P-Days so yea!
As a mission in Fort Lauderdale we are shooting for our goal of 100 baptisms in the month of March which is something that has never been done before in our mission. And we are SOO CLOSE!!!! This past week we hit 88 baptisms so we just need 12 more baptisms by Saturday to see the miracle of 100 baptisms in March as a mission!! Ahhh I am wayy pumped!!
This week I really focused on how as trials got put into the work here in Wellington South, we were just even closer to a miracle happening as we continued to be exactly obedient. We actually got blessed with being able to have a baptism this Sunday and he was very prepared by the Lord! He faced many trials during this past in prepatory to his baptism and of course Brian overcame them all! This week his boss actually fired him because he was getting baptized as well as his mom got very ill and had to go to the hospital. But he knew with all of his heart that the Lord knew best and things would work out for him as he put his trust in the Lord! I am just so glad that we were able to be there for him, and more importantly the Lord was able to be with him this past week. As we talked with him Sunday at dinner he told us, "I fell pure and clean, as well as at complete peace at the same time". Just hearing that we were able to help someone, threw the gospel of Jesus Christ, feel that way made everything worth it. I absolutely love missionary work, and it defientely is hard work!
The work is going forth here in Wellington South by the Lords strength. As we have faith and are exactly obedient, threw his strength we can do all things! We also have a marriage set up for Angelo Jr. and Shannon this week and actually four people with a date for this Saturday so pray for miracles to happen here in Southern Florida! Cause with faith absolutely anything is possible in the work of the Lord! I love ya'll and hope for lots of letters this week! I'll send some pictures of all our recent converts with this email for everyone and be praying for ya'll every single day! Ah and Brew I was just talking on the phone with another missionary that I am wayy tight with and actually goes home in a week, but I was doing the same thing we use to do to Kyle whenever we would drive down to his house. It was wayy funny and reminded me to "watch out for the poison ivy"!! I hope all goes well with ball this week Zac and you should see it here!! It is baseball country I love it!! Listen to conference this week and truly "Prepare for the Prophets" and it will bless your life!! Love ya'll!!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wk 7 FL 'Exactly Obedient' 3/19/2012

Dear Family and Amazing Friends,
Thank you for all the mail and packages I recieved this week! It's amazing to hear from all of you and be able to feel of your love and hear what's going on back home! I can tell ya'll one thing though I do miss the snow down here in sunny Florida! Like the weather is wayy nice but I really do love the snow so yea. I guess you could say I am excited to shred Milly up in two years from now! But I hope and pray that everything is doing well for everyone back home! Cause things are doing more than amazing here in Wellington. The field is truly white and ready to harvest here in Wellington I know that without a doubt becuase of the blessings we recieved this week!
This week the missionaries in Fort Lauderdale got the honor of hearing from Elder Gonzalez, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. It was really inspiring to hear the words of this man especially as we are "Preparing for the Prophets". I really took that we need to focus everything we teach around the book of mormon. As the keystone of our religion everything we teach relies upon this book, and if it is truly taken into someones life it will bring an added measure of peace into their life. So this week Elder Shaffer and I took those great words of advice and applied them into our teaching. In Preach My Gospel it says, the Book of Mormon combined with the Spirit can be your two biggest tools in teaching. The amazing thing that I saw is it really works! As we focused our teaching around the Book of Mormon investigators saw the importance of it and found peace in the book while gaining a testimonty of it at the same time.
One other thing that I learned this week that as we are exactly obedient, the Savior will prepare and lead us to people who not only are ready for the gospel, but need the peace that the gospel brings into peoples lives! The start of this week was very tough because we were working very hard and being obedient but not much was coming of it. Appointments were falling threw, and we even had to drop an investigator that is so close to baptism but just isn't progressing because that full desire is not there. His name is Keith Davis and I absolutely love the guy to death but he just wasn't progressing towards baptism. So we told him that we know if he applies his faith and acts upon it that his life will be greatly blessed, but we can't come around and teach him as much until he truly has that desire to know for himself! But we knew that if we continue to work hard and be exactly obedient and push threw it, that Jesus Christ would lead us to where we need to be threw the Spirit. That exact thing happened the last two days of this week! On Saturday night we were traveling on bike to go visit one of our investigators and a recent convert who just had a death in their family. When we arrived their friends answered the door and told us that they were not home because they were still putting things in order. So we asked them if they would like to listen to a short message about Jesus Christ and how he can bless them in their lives. They very hesitantly accepted and told us to make it quick. But as we got into the lesson the Spirit guided and directed us and softened their hearts totally! Even to a point where at the end of the lesson we invited them to be baptized and they accepted. The only problem that we found out the next day was that they are living together and they are not married. So being led by the Spirit once again they accepted to get married a week before their baptisimal day! I can not even believe the change that they have made in the past two days. Both of them are 100 times happier and just have felt that calm peace more in their lives.. They both also came to church this week and he told me once he stepped inside the building he felt as if all his troubles and trial were left outside that door. That he felt 100% at home and an absolute peace and that he cannot wait for his baptism! He also expressed he is very excited to take his family to the temple in one year and be sealed. He said that will be one of the happiest days of his life! Elder Shaffer and I are very blessed in our missionary lives to be led to people as prepared as Angelo and Shannon are.
Just when we thought it couldn't get any better on Sunday we met a golden investigator! It strengthened my testimony that if we work hard and are exactly the Lord always prepares a way. That the heavens are opened when we do so and miracles are possible. In HIS strength we can do all things! But Sunday a young man by the name of Brian walked all the way to church. We saw him and started talking to him and actually found out that he has been studying about the church for six months already. He has already read all of Moroni, 3rd Nephi, and most of 1st and 2nd Nephi! He was anxiously engaged in all three church hours and because of our amazing ward here in Wellington we were able to get him at a dinner appointment with members that night! There we found out that he has already gained a witness from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. So we invited him to be baptized and he said, "Yes, absolutely. There is nothing more than I want in my life right now!" Brain will be baptized a week after we first met him on next Sunday and we will get the honor of meeting with him every day this week! I know that Jesus Christ himself is preparing people in South Florida for us as missionaries to teach and baptize. This is a great and marvelous work and I am so honored to be a part of it! I love my Savior Jesus Christ.
An 86 year old lady by the name of Elizabeth is also getting baptized as well this week! She is one of the funniest and my favorite people in the entire world! I love that woman to death! We ran into her harvesting and she has an absolute love for our Savior Jesus Christ. In two weeks we are also hopefully baptizing a Haitian family that has been a blessing in our lives as well! We absolutely love our investigators that our father in heaven has trusted with us here in Wellington.
I know that there in no better place for anyone to be than the mission field! This is His work and glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man! And this is the work that is going forth as we speak. Who the Lord calls he also qualifies threw His strength! Once again letters are always appreciated and I love ya'll soo very much! I love hearing about what's happening at home and how everyone is doing! Laboe you better get around to writing me that letter and I heard you tore it up at your farewell man!! You'll be an amazing missionary and I truly cannot wait for us all to come home and just mob it up!! And to everyone else, especially those who said they would write me a letter, I love you soo much and am waiting!! haha. God be with ya'll back home Elder Pond out!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wk 6 FL 'Ya ALL!' 03/12/2012

Dear Family and Friends,
I kinda forgot what week it is that I've been out so yea. But this week was amazing!! The Spirit directed us to some amazing people and helped us bring people unto Jesu Cristo!! Heavenly Father even gave us the power and authority to baptize and confirm one soul this week!! Even though it was suppose to be three.. But it still was absolutely amazing and I'll tell ya'll about a little bit later. But guess what!? I've been starting to get a southern accent by saying stuff like ain't and ya'll and things like that! Down here in Wellington there are a whole bunch of Hispanics, Jamaicans, and Hatians which makes it wayy hard cause I don't speak Spanish, Creo, or Jamaican!! And yes Jamaican is a language beause I honestly cannot understand our Jamaican investigator Walter sometimes, it really is like he is speaking a totally different language. But I'm still waiting for that Spanish English dictionary so I can actually kinda talk to the hispanics down here in Wellington! The weather down here is wayy sweet!! It will be wayy hot and ya'll will feel the sun beating down on you, and then out of no where it will start pouring rain! They call it the wall of rain down here in South Florida and they say biking threw it is basically like biking threw a swimming pool. I haven't got to experience the wall of rain yet but I am very excited for my first experience. And I never realized how much I loved the mountains until I got here to Florida for three weeks and it is as flat as a pancake!! It's soo different. Oh and we have a bike car share area with the Wellington North Elders. So every other week we get a car but the other weeks we have to bike and I hate biking cause it takes much longer to get to appointments and stuff like that. But they actually bought us a new 2012 Malobu so it's pretty nice. We also get fed very well here in Wellington so I've been having to get up early and work out hard so I don't get chubby!! Cause here in Wellington we have a very special tender mercy of the Lord. The Bishop of our ward is amazing and so are the members!! But the bishop and a couple of members own the McDonalds here so all of the missionaries get free McDonalds any time we want!! I'm already kinda getting tired of it.. So if I ever visit Wellington again I'll have to remember my missionary tag to get free Mickey D's. The members also feed us very well. A week from this Sunday we went over to the Somoan families house and they defiently put out on food it was amazing!!
But I know without a doubt that the people of Southern Florida are ready for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and I know it is mine and Elder Shaffers duty to bring that to the people of South Wellington.
This week I was reflecting on obedience and my thoughts were turned to a bunch of different things that I would love to share with you. One was a talk written by President Monson entitled Finding Strength through obedeince. He says, "There is no need for you or me in this enlightened age, when the fulness of the gospel has been restored, to sail uncharted seas or travel unmarked roads in search of the fountain of truth. For a loving Heavenly Father has plotted our course and provided an unfailing map—obedience!" Then that helped me turn and think about the Sons of Mosiah and once again the great example they are to me. I can relate to them cause in my life I had a turning point where I decided to follow Christ more and I saw the happyness that the gospel of Jesus Christ brought into my life, and I wanted to share that same happyness with other people. I love the 17th chapter in Alma where it kinda talks about the conversion process of the Sons of Mosiah. In Alma 17:2-3 it reads:
 2 Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel afirst appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had bsearched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
 3 But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and afasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.
That brings me to the point that as we do those things we are suppose to do as representitives of Jesus Christ and be exactly obedient, we will teach with power and authority just like the Sons of Mosiah and will convert thousands unto the truth. The only way that we can do that is threw exact obedience.
One thing that I have come to know on the mission is how hard of work it really is. But I have seen exactly why we need to be obedient at all times. Because I know if we are exactly obedient, then we can call upon the powers of heaven to help us and that will bless many peoples lives, and blessing peoples lives just gives me so much joy!
This week we saw much success in harvesting as we strived to reach Presidents commitment of 15 blessings! We helped a lot of people come closer to Jesus Christ and one lady even cried during the blessing she loved it so much. She said that she knew we were sent from God to help her and her husband. One way that I saw how being exactly obedient helped me to call upon the powers of heaven was during harvesting. Elder Shaffer and I always do everything that we can to be exactly obedient in every way. I know because of that God blesses us to be led by the spirit while blessing a nonmembers home. Because almost every single home that we blessed expressed their gratitude to us and they knew that blessing was from God because it related to every single one of them. By listening to the Spirit we are able to be BOLD and promise blessing in peoples lives if they but follow Jesus Christ more fervantly in their lives.
The person that we got the privilage of baptizing this week is a Haitian man named Amos. His famlily was baptized three weeks ago and I know threw the Spirit we were able to bring him the restored gospel of truth. Just as the Sons of Mosiah the Spirit allows us to teach with the power and authority of God. I got the honor of baptizing Amos and it was such a spiritual experience. For all of my friends and Zac who are either on missions and havent baptized yet, or about to go on missions I cannot wait for you to have this experience. I felt soo much JOY by even being a part of this baptism and am eternally greatful that the Lord has lead us to two souls who were ready for the gospel of Jesus Christ already in my mission!!
El Bellion and Kyle if you guys are in Orlando you better be comin down to Wellington!! haha just kiddin President Anderson would kill me. But ya'll will love it in Florida and Laboe it's insane that you are leaving so soon!! You're farewell is in a week!? I better be recieving a letter with your addresses and everything bro!!
P Payne what's been up with you bra!? I'll be sendin ya a letter here soon to see don't worry.
And of course Big V!! I'm waiting for your letter to inform me how Milly is doing without the Brighton Boys thank you!!
Ah I love you all and thank you soo much for the prayers for me as well as the people of Wellington! I miss ya and think about ya'll every day!!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wk 5 FL 'Sons of Mosiah' 3/5/2012

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was once again an amazing week and I hope and pray that everyone is doing well at home! Once again this week I strive to do everything I can to be 100% obedient because I know it is only then when the heavens are open and we are given the power to convert thousands of souls unto Jesus Christ just like the Sons of Mosiah. I look up to the Sons of Mosiah every single day. Their mission was probably one of the hardest missions in the history of the world, but as they trusted and had faith threw the strength of heaven they converted thousands. I hope each and every day to just get closer to as good of missionaries as they were. But here are the best experiences that happened this week!!
First of all, tuesday was a great day because of what happened at the end of the day. We had been working hard all day and not have anything come of it. But what I have noticed just two weeks into my mission that if you endure those tough times, then you will be lead to success. So we came home for dinner and I was sitting at the door waiting for Elder Shaffer so we could get back to work and I got prompted to grab a Plan of Salvation pamphlet, not knowing why but trusting in the Spirit I did so. Then we went out harvesting, which is basically knocking on doors and asking them if they would like a blessing from Jesus Christ to put a peace and comfort on their home, and we blessed three homes in a half hour with a bunch of new investigators that seem really solid! Then at the end of the day when we were about to go home we starting talking to this guy on the street and seeing if we could leave our Savoirs peace and blessing upon his home. By talking to him we found out that he lost his daughter a couple of years ago and because that happened his belief in God dwindled to unbelief. It was then that I remembered the Spirit had prompted me to grab a Plan of Salvation pamphlet and I was obedient. So I gave it to him and we committed him to read about it and truly ponder what it had to say. I know because of this experience that if we are 100% obedient we can draw upon the powers of heaven to let us know what to do. Because when all we can do is done, we still need the powers of heaven to bring souls unto Jesus Christ. We cannot do this work on our own. Just as Ammon said when he came home from his mission in Alma 26:12, "Yea, I know that I am nothing, as to my strength I am weak. Therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God. For in His strength we can do all things...".
This week we met so many amazing people harvesting though! There is a man named Mike who has an incredible amount of faith in Jesus Christ and knowledge of the Bible. We blessed his home and taught him the restoration. Then of course we asked him to commit to be baptized and he wasn't sure. But he recognized the Spirit when we were there with him so we asked him to bring the question before the Lord, and that we know if he goes before Him with faith that he will recieve an answer. Oh and Mike is 100% blind!! He has endured so much threw Jesus Christ in his life and even played football in college while he was blind! Also on Friday we had a great day of harvesting! Thursday night we set high goals cause we knew if we had faith that the Lord would provide a way to accomplish our goals.  Then in one hour of harvesting we got three blessings, seven new investigators, and three people with baptisimal dates! It was such an amazing experience and helped me realize that with hard work and faith that Jesus Christ will be along our side helping us do His work, absolutely anything is possible! With faith anything is possible!
Overall I have learned so much this week and know that if I trust in the Lord with all my heart that he will direct my paths, Proverbs 3:5-6. I see it every single day out here in Wellington. One talk that has been on my mind a lot this week has been the Character of Christ by Elder Bednar. In it he says that we need to develop the Character of Christ as representitives of Jesus Christ, and His character is to always turn outward. When the natural man would normally turn inward and start thinking about himself, Christ would turn outward and think of other people and that is exactly what we need to do as missionaries in this great work!  I have grown to love every single person in Wellington no matter if they accept the gospel of Jesus Christ or not. It is their choice and they have the agency to do so, but it is my choice to bring them this great gospel that has blessed my life so much!
So the work in Wellington is doing amazing!! We have two baptisms scheduled this week that as long as everything goes as planned Saturday and getting tthey should be getting dunked on he Holy Ghost this next Sunday so I'm super pumped for both of those! We also have a lot of good progressing investigators that we really just need to push over that edge and get them to get baptized! I really wish everyone out here would see us as who we really are, representitives of Jesus Christ and accept us as that. So you could say I'm trying every single day to be more like Jesus so that more people will see me as a representitive of Jesus Christ. But mission life is amazing I love it down here in sunny Florida! The people and culture down here is what I love the most! But to answer some of your questions so you guys don't get mad at me for not answering them my companion is from Springville Utah. He is a really great guy but he frustrates me a lot of the time cause he doesn't always wanna work hard and be exactly obedient. He said he follows "the spirit of the law" when you are suppose to be 100% obedient but I'm just working my hardest!! I love serving the Lord and have never experienced more happiness and joy in my entire life that helping souls come closer to Jesus Christ! I love you all family and friends and please write letters. I accept letters from everyone I promise!! You all are always in my prayers and pray for the people of Wellington to soften their hearts for the message of the true and restored gospel.
With Love,
Elder Pond