Monday, June 24, 2013

WK74 'Another Week in the 305!!'

Dear Family and Friends!!
Once again this week changed my life! God has been blessing us here in Palm Springs and the Hialeah Zone tremendously. Last night as I was praying I couldn't help but to shout praises to our God and King! Our Heavenly Father does live, and I promise I will do whatever He commands with exactness.
This week we were able to be blessed and bring five souls unto the waters of baptism in our area. Things with the zone went extremely well and we were able to baptize ten of God's children as a zone. In addition to that we were blessed to hear inspired counsel from the prophets and apostles at the World-wide Seminar. As we were driving home at the end of the night I couldn't help but to think back and ponder on how much God truly does love us. And that He truly will bless us as we put our faith in Him!
This week we saw a huge miracle while harvesting! We had ten minutes before we had to go to an interview so instead of just going there early and waiting we decided to be diligent by stopping and knocking a couple of doors. On the third door we knocked on a man yelled through the door that he wasn't interested, but then we began to testify. I saw that after each testimony was born he was becoming more and more open. Finally he allowed us to pray with him through the door. After the blessing he opened the door and thanked us for everything. The power of God through the blessing softened him a lot. Then he began to explain how Elders use to come over but pressured him and his girlfriend into getting married and that pushed them away. But then he exclaimed, "You know, I am ready for this now. That's why God sent you here!" He then accepted preparing to be baptized. We walked away edified and uplifted. But as we went home that night and were going through teaching records searching for him we found his record. Then we saw that two of his children were baptized. God lead us to this family at the exact time when they were most prepared!
This week I went on an exchange with some Elders with the purpose of helping them increase their faith. At the beginning of the exchange we had a companionship study and I taught the faith cycle and expressed we would focus on having a desire and not casting out that desire. That we would do that by talking with EVERYONE and inviting all to come to church the next day. We talked to an incredible amount of people totaling 64 people invited to come to church, with 31 OYM's in the day. At the end of the night they both expressed how they are going to have more faithful harvesting, invite everyone to be baptized who comes to church, and talk with everyone now to show forth more faith in Christ. We gave everything we had and as a result my faith dramatically increased.
But the Hialeah Zone is doing extremely well! I love it down here! I have one English companion and one Spanish but we will see what happens because transfers are next week! Hopefully I won't be two weeks and done in Hialeah.. But we normally go on exchanges every day especially since we have three missionaries in Palm Springs!
Well I love ya'll and hope all is well this upcoming week! Remember to become as the Savior is, we must do as the Savior would do!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, June 17, 2013

WK 73 'Welcome to Miami!!'

Dear Family and Friends!!
Well today I have a heart FULL of gratitude for God and the mercy of Jesus Christ towards me. This week has definitely been a crazy week but one that has completely changed my life. I will eternally be grateful for this past week and the things God has taught me.
It all started Monday as we got out to work hard in the amazing area of Stuart South. We went and taught some lessons to our baptismal dates and were getting harvest blessings through contacting everyone on the streets. Then it was 8:30 PM and we walked past this group of ten people to go see a potential investigator. They weren't home so as we walked past this group of people again we decided to stop and leave our Saviors peace and blessing with them. They accepted and after the prayer many of them were in tears. They expressed extreme gratitude and of how Christ sent us there. As we invited them to be baptized they couldn't of been more excited. We all walked away from that experience edified and uplifted by the Lord.
Then something HUGE happened on Wednesday. I had my interview with President Anderson. At this time I was extremely excited for the amazing things that have been happening for the amazing Stuart Zone. We had an amazin Zone Training and the work was rolling foreword. But I sat down with President, he looked at me and said I feel impressed by the Spirit of God to tell you that you will be transferred out of Stuart South today. The assistants will call you when I inform them and come pick you up. My immediate impression was my jaw falling to the ground because I couldn't believe I was being transferred in the middle of the transfer. But immediately the Spirit of God told me that this was from him.
Then I got the honor of spending Wednesday-Friday with the Assistants and learned an incredible amount. These three days completely changed my life. Some of the things I learned were:
Everything we do needs to be measured by effectiveness.
Some Children of God move greater by pressure and others by motivation.
We as leaders must be respected and not fall into trying to be liked..
We must build a culture in our zones of conversion to our purpose and having faith on the Lord.
Everything we DO is to help us BECOME!
There must be purpose behind everything that we do.
Pride diminishes our spiritual power and skills as children of God.
We are challenging and testifying missionaries!
Do not ever forget the basics and fundamentals!
You can learn a life lesson from any situation!
And much, much more. As a result of these three days I have become a more Christlike Son of God and I thank God for these three days!
Then Saturday I got transferred down to Palm Springs with Elders Skousen and Hall as Zone Leaders in the Hialeah Zone. Yupp I am finally down in Miami baby!! And as well back with Elder Hall who was my companion in Fort Laud South. This call was from God! We went out and worked hard on Saturday and saw huge miracles by getting six new investigators to sacrament meeting. We now have seven baptisms lined up for this Sunday and know as we exercise faith God will strengthen us to accomplish this!
Then something Elder Skousen said on Sunday changed my life as well. "When I was on exchanges with Elder Plowman he asked me what I want to accomplish the last three weeks of my mission. I said to have more faith and help others have that faith. Then more effectively minister to our District Leaders. Then God sent you here." God is amazing! He knows what He is doing and I know this is His work! I know He has sent me here to the Hialeah Zone and we will see miracles!
But Brothers and Sisters I love you all! Miami is amazing! And the work of God will continue to roll foreword always! Just push with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength.
With Love,
Elder Pond
Let's Go Miami Heat!! Haha..

Monday, June 10, 2013

WK72 'My God is Awesome!!'

Dear Family and Friends,
My God is Awesome!! The story of Lot and his wife is actually one of my favorites and one that President Anderson shared with us in his email today. It has helped me in my life to move on from past mistakes and have hope with faith that God will provide a fruitful future for me. Much like our missions, we can move on from what may have happened in the past and press foreword with an eye single to the glory of God.

This week we saw a huge miracle as we pressed foreword with faith! My last Sunday with Elder Torres after church we decided to go out and harvest so we could keep a commitment left by Elder Stewart and get 15 blessings. This was one of the most amazing harvest sessions of my life because we got 11 blessings and 10 of them said yes to baptism! What was even more amazing is the first person that we blessed that day got baptized yesterday. There were many things she had to overcome, but as we exercised faith and never looked back God allowed it to happen. The grace of Christ is sufficient for all men!

We also had another HUGE powerful spiritual experience with harvesting this week. Elder Smoot and myself were driving away after an appointment and passed this duplex. For some reason every time we passed this apartment I couldn't help but to look at it. This time the Spirit struck me hard that we needed to go knock it. I tried to put it off but the Spirit kept prompting me so we turned around and began to walk up to it. The first door of the duplex was a Latin couple who unfortunately would not let us bless them. But we did not cast out our seed of faith and went to the next door. There we met Prince, who readily accepted a blessing, and was pumped for baptism afterwards! As we listen to the Spirit and do not cast out our seed of faith then God will immediately bless us!

The Zone is doing well. We have all the pieces that we need now we just need to put them all together. Our missionaries are becoming more converted I can see it! I absolutely love this work and know that it is Gods! But the Stuart Zone is amazing and geographically is HUGE!! In one week we calculated that we drove a total of thirty hours!! But the people are absolutely amazing I love 'em lots! Lots of people from different countries as always in South Florida! But this zone honestly is Zion I love it!!

On a more personal level I had a very powerful spiritual experience that I would like to share with ya'll. This past Sunday was very tough for me due to things that were happening with the ward. We have been feeling as if the ward has been pulling the opposite direction and things were happening that were very frustrating. But God in his infinite mercy allowed me to baptize our baptism after church. As I brought this daughter of God under the waters of salvation I felt the up-most power come from God. I saw this amazing sister of mine influence the Atonement as never before. Then as I went back to change I knelt down and prayed to my creator, my eternal father in heaven. I beckoned him for His strength, His peace, and to know what to do concerning the ward. As I said the words, "God, I need you. My soul anguishes without your presence. You are my strength," I felt the most over-whelming feeling from the Spirit of God. Then it was able to speak to my soul that I needed to show absolute Christ-like charity. This experience changed my life and I will always remember it! Then as we spoke with the Bishopric after the baptism and as I exercised complete charity God allowed everything to work out. I absolutely love my Heavenly Father, and I know that He is real!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fort Lauderdale Mission - Leadership Council

Monday, June 3, 2013

WK71 'Another Week in the Lord!!'

Dear Family and Friends!!
All is well in Stuart!! This week I was pondering on how we as Children of God are able to change. Many people think they need to change there entire personality for God to accept them. But through study and much prayer I discerned that this is not what God wants for us. From the scriptures we learn that we are created in the image of God, so from that we learn that God has given us our individual personalities for a reason. God has given all of us individual spiritual gifts! So what we must do is take our personality and through the Atonement of Christ apply Christlike attributes into our very being. And that is how we "become a Saint through the Atonement of Christ". This is what I will continue to apply in my life and help all those around me apply!
We saw huge miracles here in the amazing area of Stuart South this week! We worked as hard as we can and once again God provided us with another miracle baptism! We definitely had to exercise our faith to be able to get our friend into the waters of baptism, but in Christ's great mercy He made it happen! And as a result my love and understanding of the Atonement has increased even greater!
The Zone is seeing amazing things as well. This week we were able to do a lot of ministering and help our zone more fully catch the vision so thus they can become more converted. This past week we ministered on exercising faith, teaching repentance, and conversion to our purpose.
There is also a part of our June Zone Vision that I wanted to share with ya'll. We use it as missionaries but it can be applied to any aspect of life and I know is inspired from God.
Personal Growth and Conversion
Repent- Recognize area of personal growth and necessary improvement day by day
Study- Learn what you must do to improve. Create an If->Then Statement, which determines what you need to do (IF) and as you do that what God will do for you (THEN).
Pray- Take If->Then Statement to God
Act in Faith- 1 Nephi 3:7

As this formula is applied in our lives, I know we will see personal growth and our conversion unto Christ will continue to grow stronger and stronger day by day.
Well God and Jesus Christ love you and all His children eternally. I personally love ya'll as well. I am also grateful for my companions, Elders Smoot and Rockwood, they are amazing and I love them a lot. Continue to do all you can to show forth your faith in the Savior Jesus Christ!

With Love,
Elder Pond

Stuart Zone... 'The Big Three' - Elder Rockwood, Elder Pond & Elder Smoot 
with Sisters Dougal & Stegelmeier.   Thank you Sisters for the picture!