Monday, December 31, 2012

WK49 'Eternal Life Time'

Dear Family and Friends!!
Ah my joy is completely full for the strength that the Lord has given our amazing mission to complete our goal of 150 baptisms this month! We finished with 153 baptisms as a mission which is somethings that has never been done before! This was absolutely the whitest Christmas I have ever been a part of! We saw so many miracles here in Cypress Creek as well as throughout the district this past month it was amazing!
This week I gained a HUGE testimony on how revelation is recieved at church to those who have open hearts to the Spirit of God. We have this investigator who we have been teaching for a while now and knows everything is true just won't act upon it. We had an amazing lesson with her Saturday night with a recent convert that came with us but she was still having doubts about being baptized so we testified to her if she listens to the Spirit at church the next day, she will feel God needs this for her right now. So the next day at church right before Young Womens I got a chance to testify to her and challenge her to be baptized that day. She still didn't feel quite ready. But she went to young womens and after the block she came out and was super pumped and filled with the Spirit of God. They were talking about New Years Resolutions and she announced that her's would be getting baptized next Sunday! Miracles happen as those we love come to church and we are able to allow the Spirit to do the teaching. I truly cannot wait for her baptism next Sunday! Another experience that we had was with two new investigators that came to church this Sunday as well. After the block they explained how much of the Spirit sent from God that they felt at church. We then followed up with them Sunday after church with a member and you could tell they were on a spiritual high! The Sister explained how she came home and had no desire to drink any alcohol. We then challenged her to get rid off all the alcohol in her house so she can prepare more for her baptism on Sunday. She went inside the house and came back with an entire case of beer saying, "I don't need this anymore. I'm DONE!" The Spirit that they felt at Christ's true and living Church gave them so much strength to continue to prepare for their baptism next Sunday!
We also had two amazing experiences while harvesting this week! We stopped to contact this guy on the street on Wednesday and went to go bless his home. He accepted baptism immediately and that fulfilled our eight blessings by Wednesday! Then the Lord blessed us because of our obedience! We were walking out of this house and someone who was checking their mail asked us what we do. We explained that we baptize people and help them feel peace from God. Immediately she beckoned us to come and bless her home. She accepted baptism immediately talked about how she knows we were sent from Christ because she was praying for more peace for her family and then God sent us! Another experience harvesting was we were walking on the streets once again and this lady was walking towards us. So we contacted her and she took us inside her home to bless her entire family. The Spirit was undeniably strong after the blessing and they all accepted baptism. Then we invited them to church and the mom explained how they have their church. Then we basically said, "We know this is an invitation from Christ himself to come to Church with us. You must come and listen to the Saviors voice!" After much testifing we left and they were still set on going to their church on Sunday. But that Spirit from our testimony stayed with them and they all came to church on Sunday! This is God's work, I know it!!
This month was amazing here in Cypress Creek we gave six souls the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ! The District ended with fifteen baptisms all together which was amazing I was extremely happy!
This gospel is a gospel of change! If we truly sit back and evaluate how much this gospel has changed our lives we will not even be able to measure it. This is the way back to the Father! So follow the gospel with all your heart, might, mind, and soul and strive to share that with others and behold thus saith the Father, "Ye shall have eternal life"! So lets go get eternal life ya'll!!
Love ya!!
Elder Pond

Monday, December 24, 2012

WK48 'A White Christmas!'

Dear Family and Friends!
I love you all and this truly is the most amazing white Christmas that I have ever had in my entire life. I absolutely love bringing souls unto Christ and helping them recieve salvation threw baptism. I have never been happier in my life! I love the Lords work and am eternally grateful for all that he has done for me!
This week we saw many miracles here in Cypress! We worked extremely hard and started off the week with determination to get eight blessings by Wednesday and twenty-five blessings by Saturday night. The Lord worked miracles to be able to make this possible because of our amazing desires and our faith in the Lord. Wednesday morning as we began to work we only had one blessing so we knew that we needed to get at least seven that day to be exactly obedient and recieve the fullness of miracles from God. During the middle of the day we were unlocking our bikes off a street pole and we saw this van pull passed us honking and waving. The Spirit prompted me to follow them and talk to them so Elder Wood and I peddled as fast as we could and finally caught up to where they had parked. They began talking with us and were extremely excited to see us. They were just dropping someone off so they took us to their friends home so we could bless their home and they left. We blessed the home, the Spirit was undeniably there, and they all accepted baptism. Then an eight year old girl of the family came up to us and said, "Can I take you to some of my friends home so you can pray with them as well?" Of course we accepted and we came to find out that she knew the whole neighborhood! This eight year old girl took us to nine of her friends homes and we blessed them all and six of the homes accepted to be baptized! Because of our righteous desires the Lord blessed us with this miracle. The entire day we blessed twelve homes in total and by Saturday night we had twenty-six blessing so the Lord allowed us to hit both of our goals! Which then allowed us to get many new investigators and baptismal dates which is amazing!
I know that our Savior Jesus Christ atoned for our sins, as well as our iniquities in Gethsemane! He is the Lord that was prophesied of by many prophets of God before His birth. He loves all of us and is there to comfort and help us as we come unto Him! Let us all follow Jesus Christ this Christmas season! I love you all and Merry Christmas!!
With Christlike Love,
Elder Pond
Fort Lauderdale Mission, this photo came from President Anderson's Christmas Letter.  Elder Pond is 1st row, 4th from left.

Monday, December 17, 2012

WK47 'Hand of the Lord'

Dear Family and Friends!!
Oh how the work is moving forth within Cypress Creek, our district, zone, and mission! This is truly going to be the best White Christmas that anyone could ask for! We are already seeing "the snow" falling here in Cypress Creek! I absolutely love the work here in Cypress Creek and our amazing district! We saw many mighty miracles this week and I truly am grateful for the hand of the Lord in this work because without Him it would not be possible!
The biggest miracle that we saw this week in Cypress Creek was the Lord giving us five souls to bring unto Christ threw baptism! It was amazing to see how the Lord prepared these people. We had this family that came to church last week and we set with baptismal dates for the next Sunday. As we had daily contact and testified every time we saw them their baptismal dates began to get more and more solid. Saturday night they were all pumped to get baptized the next day! We went to go round them up for church Sunday morning and they told us that only two would be coming to church today and only one was getting baptized. But three of them ended up coming to church and they brought their cousin who came last week again this week! So we got them to church but we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us. We also had a miracle and a lady who was very close to baptism this Sunday that we were teaching during the week ended up coming to church instead of going out of town like we expected. So after sacrament meeting I grabbed a member and told him to go invite her to be baptized today! She accepted because of that members testimony. Then I grabbed the cousin on the family and invited him to be baptized today and he accepted! So Elder Sommerfelt and I took him and began teaching him everything he had to know for baptism while Elder Wood taught Gospel Principles with a member. During Gospel Principles a recent convert bore her testimony on her baptism and the Spirit hit a nonmember that was preparing to be baptized but before church decided she wasn't ready and she now knew that it was exactly what she needed! Meanwhile we were teaching the cousin and the Lord had prepared him like nothing else! He saw us as representatives of Jesus Christ and readily accepted everything that we taught. He expressed how he has always dreamed of getting baptized and how he is grateful that Jesus Christ sent us to him to make it possible. After we got done teaching him we grabbed another investigator who decided she wasn't ready for baptism at the last second and began teaching and testifying to her about baptism! There was one moment that I remember there was an extremely powerful spiritual pause and she felt the Spirit so strong that she began to cry. We testified at the drop off a hat and committed her to get dressed in white at the baptism and if she felt the Spirit to get baptized! Then the zone leaders came down and the cousin and the lady who showed up to church instead of going out of town got interviewed and passed! The Lord made everything happen to where this was all possible! As we were at the Vega's house getting ready for the baptism the girl that felt the Spirit while we were teaching her and began to cry came up to me and said, "Elder Pond, I am ready. Will you baptize me?" The Spirit was undoubtedly there and I was eternally grateful that the Spirit bore witness to her heart that God wanted this for her. Finally we had an extremely powerful, spiritual baptismal service for all five of them. After the baptism they all came up to me and had the Spirit illuminating off of them! It was an amazing witness to me of the power of baptism, and that if we give all that we can the Lord will make it happen!
I know and testify that this is the Lords work. The Spirit will ALWAYS testify of truth and we must always rely upon the Spirit!
The district is doing very well! We got seven baptisms this Sunday as a district and are at twelve as a district so far this month only eight from our goal of twenty so we are pumped! I love being District Leader and serving the other missionaries in my district. It definitely is a lot of work of course though! Which you all know that I love working hard!
This week Elder Shipley, the newly called Assistant who was my first District Leader, also came into our area for a day and I learned so much! The biggest thing that I learned in that as you minister to not only nonmembers but missionaries that you have stewardship over, you will change their lives. As well as the doctrine, or why, of things is extremely important. It allows you to be much more powerful and it gives your actions substance!
I love ya'll soo much and I am eternally grateful that I have the opportunity of a lifetime to serve the Lord for two years. To truly make the greatest WHITE CHRISTMAS EVA!!!
With Christlike Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, December 10, 2012

WK46 'Focus on the Atonement!!'

Dear Family and Friends!!
It is absolutely amazing to hear from ya'll as always! Everything is amazing here in the mission field! Last Wednesday we had our Transfer Meeting and it was extremely revelatory for me especially! Of course as always it is amazing to feel of the spirit of missionary work when missionaries gather together. It was very exciting to receive the call from the Lord to serve my district as District Leader as well as to see where our above average mission is heading! Many changes are happening in the leadership of the mission because these next two transfers because most of the mission leadership go home and in January alone we get 27 new missionaries! So very exciting things are happening here in the amazing Fort Lauderdale mission! I also got a new companion. His name is Elder Wood and he was actually in my MTC district as well! He is from Overton, Nevada and is a hard working Elder! During the closing song "We'll Bring the World His Truth", the Spirit was undeniably strong. I felt it, and I felt God directly giving me the strength that I need to do His work. God absolutely works along our side every single day as we are exactly obedient. This is a work of miracles as we rely upon our loving Savior Jesus Christ for His strength that we definetly felt here in Cypress Creek this week!
This Sunday President and Sister Anderson came to visit our little branch, that I must saying is growing extremely fast! Yesterday we had another baptism and we had 110 people total come to service Sunday! Which is a miracle because a year ago they had an average of 35 people show up.This Sunday our friend Charles got baptized and he was a HUGE miracle brought forth by the Lord for sure! We met Charles walking on the streets and we taught him right there about how God loves him and desires him to follow Christ and be baptized. He said that baptism isn't something that he wants but he would think about coming to church. So we got his address and told him that we would stop by and bless his home. The next day we went to the address that he gave us and it was the wrong address. So we prayed and told God if it is His will to help us be led to find Charles again. Well the next day we were walking down the street and sure enough our friend Charles was there! We gave him a hug and then he took us to his home to bless it. That Sunday he came to church and at church we invited him to be baptized. He accepted a soft date because he felt "strength from Christ" at church. But his baptismal day came and Charles didn't feel ready so he wasn't baptized. We then lost contact with Charles and his roommate told us that he went to the hospital. Then this Saturday we felt prompted to go over to Charles home with a member that fellowshiped him at church when he came. Charles was there and out of the hospital! Charles explained to us that he was standing at the bus stop and didn't feel well and then he passed out and fell down! They called an ambulance and took him to Plantation Hospital. He was there for over a week and they did a whole bunch of tests and couldn't find anything wrong with him. Charles told us that while he was in the hospital he felt like he was going to die, but he prayed and asked God to give him life because he needs the baptism. We then at the drop of a hat invited him to be baptized! I will never forget his reply, "I will never say no to what Jesus wants me to do again!" Charles was then baptized on Sunday and after his baptism he was giving everyone hugs. He came up to me and said, "I feel different. I like this a lot!" Jesus Christ led him to us that first day on the street, he then helped us get back in contact, helped Charles come to church to increase his desires to be baptized, had to humble him by going to the hospital, led us to him that Saturday, and gave him the strength to be baptized Sunday! This work is only possible threw Christ who strengthens us!!
We also saw a miracle threw Christ while biking Sunday night! Of course it was 8:15 at the end of the night and we were pushing threw till the end working hard to continue to see miracles from Christ! We biked past this lady sitting by her car and I felt the Spirit prompt me to talk with her and leave the harvest blessing. But I kept going and we went to our appointment. He wasn't home so I told Elder Wood that we needed to go talk with this lady. We biked up to her, introduced ourselves as representitives of our Savior Jesus Christ, and told her that the Spirit prompted us to stop and leave this blessing with her. She readily accepted. I offered the harvest blessing and remember having specific promptings from the Spirit to say certain things. After I said Amen a peace fell over us all from the Spirit. She said, "Thank you. I really needed that because of all that I have been going threw. Sometimes I feel like giving up and I need more of this peace in my life." Tears began to come to my eyes because the Spirit was extremely strong. We then testified that Christ sent us there to bring this more into her life threw following Christ. She then was very excited for baptism and church next Sunday! We must ALWAYS listen to where the Spirit is guiding us!
It has been very exciting to serve as district leader! I gave my first district training this week and also did my first baptismal interviews! I'm pumped to help the CoCo Creek District do what has not been done before!
But P-days have been different in every area I have been in and it depends on the Elders that you serve around. It is different here in Cypress Creek because we don't have a car. So we wake up, study till ten, then go email, get shopping at Publix done, and start our laundry. Then we normally go get something to eat at a restaurant by the beach and go to some of the local shops with some cool stuff. Then relax because after a long weeks work you definitely need it! So nothing really too special. We also look for any opportunity as always to share the gospel, even on P-days! The P-day before my birthday was basically the same. Haha. But then at five thirty we go out and invite people to Christ and proselyte.
Today and always I am extremely grateful for the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. That is the power that cleansed me from mistakes I may have made and allowed me to be who I am today! There is always hope and you are NEVER too far gone! God always loves you! Always strive to share the Atonement of Christ threw baptism!
I love ya'll and hope this week goes well!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WK45 'Be Ye Therefore Perfect, Even as I Am!'

Dear Family and Friends!
So last night Elder Lee and I got a transfer call and...... Elder Lee is leaving and I will be staying and getting a new companion tomorrow here in Cypress Creek! I am extremely excited to be staying here in Cypress Creek and continue to see the work progress! It's my goal to turn this branch into a ward and miracles are happening daily from the Lord that are allowing this to come forth! This is absolutely and fully the Lords work and he gives me strength every single day to be able to bring to pass his holy purposes!
This week we really saw the power of contacting people on the streets. We bike a lot so we set a goal this week to contact everyone we saw while we were biking. It was amazing to see that we got 21 blessings and we didn't knock on anyones door all week. I know that the Lord puts people in our path as we are walking, biking, or even driving. We must just ALWAYS open our mouths to everyone!
Lately Elder Lee and I have been focusing on developing a different attribute of Christ every single day and we have been seeing miracles come from that!
Faith in Jesus Christ: We must show everyone that we come in contact with that we have complete faith that they will accept the gospel. Christ said, "To him that believeth, all things are possible!" Sometimes we limit ourself but we must have the faith in Christ sufficient to produce miracles!
Hope: We definitely noticed that hope eventually turns into faith when acted upon. When we invite people to be baptized and they accept they hope this things will truly bless their lives. It turns into faith when they keep commitments and eventually get baptized.
Charity: For me one of the most important Christlike attributes. As we show everyone charity they will feel it and be able to tell that we want these things for them not for a number, but because we truly love them.
Virtue: There are so many things in the world today that Satan uses to try and make us unclean. As we have virtue and keep our thoughts clean, then our actions will be clean as well!
Knowledge: As we seek to obtain God's word, then our mouth will be loosed and we will speak from the Spirit. We must obtain the knowledge first though!
Patience: The Lord knows all things. By being patient threw all things we are showing our trust that we have in the Lord. When times get tough as we patiently endure it, then the Lord always gives us a miracle!
Humility: We always must stay humble and as Ammon said know that it's only threw God's strength that we can accomplish anything!
Diligence: As we consistently work hard the Lord always blesses us! Work is the key to any situation, especially in missionary WORK!
Obedience: This is the first law of heaven. If we want blessings from God we must always be exactly obedient in ALL  things!
My favorite experience that we had this week in Cypress Creek happened on Saturday! Saturday is always our big day where we go see everyone we are teaching and make sure they are solid for church on the next day. This Saturday we were coming out of an investigators home around five at the top of our area and my bikes back tire was completely flat. But we didn't let that slow us down and immediately we began calling people to find a ride as we were walking swiftly to our next appointment. As we were walking this lady stopped us, expressed a huge desire to change her life, and accepted a baptismal date! Then we continued on and finally found a ride down to the bottom of our area. Then we began running in proslyting clothes from one investigators house to another rounding up as many investigators for church the next day as possible. We saw many miracles and were able to round up many people because of our diligence. We didn't let any adversity stop us, but we continued to push foreword with faith in Christ!
We are very excited for transfer meeting tomorrow as well as to here you and Sister Anderson speak in Cypress Creek on Sunday!
I don't have too much more time so next Sunday I'll write the personal notes dad. But I got the package and thank you it came on my Birthday! I love ya'll and can't wait to here from ya threw letters during the week!
With Love,
Elder Pond