Monday, July 29, 2013

WK79 'Oh How Sweet Shall Be Our Joy'

Dear Family and Friends!
This week was definitely a learning experience for both Elder Rugg and myself. Looking back I am extremely grateful for weeks like this because I know God is molding me into who he wants me to become.
This week there were many trials, that included a bike crash, baptisms falling through, and honestly just feeling exhausted at times. But God provided miracles as we pushed through with faith! We were able to have four new investigators come to church that are all set with baptismal dates for next week! But the biggest miracle came after church on Sunday, Elder Rugg and myself looked at each other and both agreed that we needed to find the elect. We were focusing on having power in the words that we speak and our actions reflect purpose. Sunday night we got ten harvest blessings and found a total of fifteen people that showed HUGE signs of repentance. As we walked away I couldn't help but shout praises to God. I know he delivers us in our times of trials and adversity.
I did just get off the phone with President Anderson and hear of the passing of my amazing Grandma Ruby. I am grateful that God sent me into such an amazing family that has help mold me into who I am today. My Grandma Ruby changed my life. And I know that she will be such an amazing influence on the other side of the veil. She is a disciple of Jesus Christ. I also know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. That He sent us here not to fail but to one day succeed through the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the atoning blood of the Savior all mankind can be saved and enter into the Kingdom of God. I know that I will see my Grandma along with my beloved savior Jesus Christ one day. Oh how sweet shall be our joy in that day!
With Love,
Elder Pond

'Letter for Ruby's Funeral'

Dear Mom and Dad!
Hope all is well back home! What I do know is that God is with us through all things and I am eternally grateful for the things God has taught me out here as a missionary to help me endure trials. But I am not sure when the funeral will be, but I always asked Grandma if I could speak at her funeral. Of course I am out doing the work of God but I know spiritually I will be there. I was also wondering that if I write something if you would share it at her funeral. If this is possible it would mean a lot to me. Here is what I would love for you to share at her funeral:

Well Brothers and Sisters this is Elder Pond and I thought I would share my love for you as well for my amazing Grandma Ruby out in Sunny Southern Florida.
Today I hope everyone has smiles on their faces! In Mosiah 3:17 we learn that, "there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." So thus through the Savior Jesus Christ we are able to gain exaltation and inherit all that our Father in Heaven has. Christ taught us in John 3:5 that, "Except a man be born of water, and of the spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God!" So we know that as we make special covenants with God though Christ, like baptism, then we will be able to live with God and our family members again.
What I know is that the plan of God is perfect. That "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son" and through his atoning sacrifice we can be cleansed from all sin to go live with God one day.
My Grandma Ruby followed Jesus Christ and I know was a true disciple of Jesus Christ. She changed many lives here on Earth and I know that she will change many lives on the other side of the veil. This was the plan of God from the very beginning.
There was a talk that I was reading that I would like to share an exert with you from:

"To demonstrate the kind of inner strength I am talking about, I would like to share the story of Susanna Stone Lloyd, who at the age of 26 left England in 1856 and traveled to Utah alone. The only member of her family to join the Church, Susanna was a member of the Willie Handcart Company. Like so many other pioneers, she endured life-threatening hunger, illness, and fatigue.
Upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Susanna borrowed a mirror to make herself more presentable. Despite her best efforts, she recounts: “I shall never forget how I looked. Some of my old friends did not know me.” 1Having sold her own mirror to an Indian for a piece of buffalo meat, she had not spent much time looking at herself. Now she did not recognize her own image. She was a different person, both inside and out. Over the course of rocky ridges and extreme hardship came a deep conviction. Her faith had been tried, and her conversion was concrete. She had been refined in ways that the very best mirror could not reflect. Susanna had prayed for strength and found it—deep within her soul.
This is the kind of inner strength I would like to talk about. How do you and I become so converted to the truth, so full of faith, so dependent on God that we are able to meet trials and even be strengthened by them?"
Brothers and Sisters at this time let us strengthen our faith in the Savior Jesus Christ by doing what he would have us do! Let us allow this trial to strengthen our faith in the Savior and God's promises to us. Trust in those promises and never let them go.
My Grandma Ruby was an amazing lady, she changed many lives, and I know through Christ we may all see her again one day! I love you all and I love my Grandma Ruby!

Elder Pond

Mom and Dad lemme know if this is possible. Once again I would greatly appreciate it!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, July 22, 2013

WK78 'ACTION Time!!'

Dear Friends and Family!
Thank you all for your words this week! Always know that miracles truly did come to pass here in the beautiful land of Miami this week!
This week we saw huge miracles with teaching doctrine in our lessons! One lesson was with a lady who came to church and was preparing to be baptized on Sunday. We walked in and immediately she started bringing up concerns and excuses on how she wants to be baptized in a year and not this Sunday. But as we began to teach her the eternal reasons behind baptism she began to understand. Eventually she went to wanting baptism in three months, then one month, then two weeks, then this Sunday! The use of doctrine changed everything in that lesson!
Another experience we had was with an investigator who was also preparing to be baptized Sunday. We went and saw her Monday and she blew up on how her and her daughter cannot get baptized on Sunday because they are not prepared. We began teaching her doctrine and on Wednesday we invited them both to come to the church. As her daughter went to mutual we took this investigator around for a chapel tour. We went inside the sacrament room and the spirit was immediately there. Then after that we met with the investigator and Bishop and taught a lesson. The investigator explained how as she has been inside the church she has felt the Spirit. We then likened that unto Acts 2 and acting upon the Spirit. Our investigator then completely changed, "Alright, God wants me to be baptized, I'll do it!" On Sunday night as we sat at their baptism it was amazing to see the transformation that took place. All because true doctrine was understood, and thus the power of God was felt!
Things are going very well though. We have a good amount of baptisms lined up for this Sunday which we are extremely excited for. The field truly is white and all ready to harvest.
But what I wanted to share with you is something that I spoke on yesterday in sacrament meeting on revelation! Just as with the Liahona revelation comes as we are faithful, diligent, and give heed. When we receive revelation we must act upon it immediately! Do not let a second pass without acting upon revelation from God. As we do so I know that we will be led to live with God one day.
I love you all and tear it up this week!
Elder Pond

Monday, July 15, 2013

WK77 'Miracle Zone!!'

Dear Family and Friends!
It is miracle time down in MIAMI!! I cannot even express the miracles we have been seeing this past week! I am extremely grateful for every opportunity and miracle I am able to learn and grow from for I know that as I do so I am able to become more converted and a tool in the Lords hands. This week we saw huge miracles as we were a tool in the Lords hands.
We were biking down this new street that we just began working. We biked past this guy holding a basketball and the Spirit prompted us to go speak with him. So we turned back around and contacted him. As we identified ourselves as representatives of Jesus Christ he said, "Come on in Brothers!" We blessed him and after the prayer he gave us a huge hug. We invited him to be baptized and he stated, "Absolutely! Can I do it today?" We then explained how he can on the 21st and he was very pumped. Then the miracle got bigger when we followed up with him the next day. He then told us the story of how he really met us. He said that day we were sitting at the stop light in front of his house and something told him to look threw his window. He then saw us and it told him to walk outside with a basketball. Then we talked to him. He told us, "Brothers I know God sent us to each other! I'm ready to go swimming in the waters of baptism!" We left that lesson edifying and rejoicing together when a lady came up to us as we were walking back to our car and asked if we were Mormons. We contacted her then walked five blocks to her apartment to bless her family. She stated how she use to go to the Mormon church in Haiti and loved it and was looking for the Mormon church down in Opa-Locka. After the harvest blessing they were all in tears and will be getting baptized this Sunday!
We also saw a miracle with a investigator we have been teaching for a while. His entire family was baptized three weeks ago and every time we would teach him doctrine he would bring up another excuse and concern. But last week we finally got him to church and this week we made sure we kept daily contact him him to show God our diligence. Every day a new excuse would come up concerning baptism but we continued to press foreword with faith teaching him correct until Sunday he showed up to church and said, "Elders, I'm going to be baptized today. This is my new church!" True doctrine understood changes attitudes and behaviors! When we preach the gospel this is what we must do! Teach true doctrine linked to their desires and then if they are elect and willing to receive by the Spirit, they will change!
Well we also have a very busy week ahead of us and I am extremely excited!! This week the shout out goes to my cousin Dani and in that case the entire Ship family. Ya'll are amazing and I thank ya for all you have done for my immediate family!
Even more miracles are coming! I can smell it, I can feel it, I know it!
With Love,
Elder Pond

Monday, July 8, 2013

WK76 'Keep Goin'

Dear Family and Friends!
This week once again was full of huge miracles from God. We definitely received trials of our faith, but God is always waiting at the end of the tunnel with a huge miracle for us! The city of Miami is amazing! I love it soo much. Elder Rugg my new companion from Oregon and myself work hard in a little town called Opa-Locka all day long!
Elder Rugg and myself saw a huge miracle on the fourth of July though! As we got out to work later in the night we went to see two of our baptismal dates for this Sunday. They expressed how they didn't enjoy church and it seemed no matter what doctrine we taught their hearts were closed and they dropped us. After that we continued to press foreword with faith and stopped by two of our other baptismal dates for Sunday. The husband came out and expressed how they would be going back to their old church and asked us not to stop by anymore. At this point I wasn't really sure what to do, my soul felt anguish because nothing was going right. So as Elder Rugg and myself sat in the car we pondered and offered a prayer to God asking what He would have us do to see a miracle tonight. We both knew after that prayer that we needed to harvest and God would prepare people for us to baptize. So as we looked up we saw this man standing outside his house so we got out of our car and spoke with him. Immediately he let us in to bless him and his grandma. They both readily accepted baptism and his grandma came to church on Sunday and is getting baptized next Sunday! Then we felt a spiritual prompting to go to an apartment complex that we drove past one time. So at 8:30 at night on the fourth of July with fireworks going off everywhere we finally made it to the apartment complex. We walked up the stairs and the first door we saw open we contacted and blessed. It was an amazing family of three who all want to be baptized very badly! As we were walking away and said to Elder Rugg, "Man I love God for what He teaches us and how He always provides miracles for us!"
This applies to any situation in life. When things go wrong, stop, and remember your purpose and do all you can to fulfill the will of God. Then miracles will come from the heavens above!
Today I wanted to give a shout out to my Grandma Ruby for the amazing daughter of God that she is! She has influenced my life grateful and I would no where near be where I am today without her!
But I love ya'll and know that God lives! Keep goin and don't stop!
Elder Pond

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

WK75 'The 305!!'

Dear Family and Friends!
This week has been full of life changing experiences and miracles as always down here in the Hialeah Zone. I am eternally grateful that God has sent me down here in Hialeah, I love it! I am also extremely excited because last night we received transfer calls and I will be staying another down in Palm Springs! So BIG things are coming!
This week we were extremely blessed to be able to marry the parents of the children that we baptized last Sunday! Then this Sunday they were both baptized. It has been amazing to see the complete change that has taken place in that amazing family! I met them my first day here and that next Sunday was their first Sunday in church. Now every time we go over they are all beaming from ear to ear and talk about how clean they feel. I am grateful for this life changing experience because it truly has strengthened my testimony of the Atonement of Christ!

The Zone is doing amazing and is definitely on the rise. I am grateful to my God for allowing our area to baptize eight souls this month and the zone twenty two. Now this upcoming month we will continue to grow so we can bring even more of God's children into the waters of baptism.
This letter is going to have to be fairly short unfortunately.. But lately I have been pondering on how 

God allows us to act in faith to be able to grow. Let us use the amazing gift we have of agency righteously! Let us stand our ground in righteousness always! To be able to do so in all things we must humble ourselves before God and align our will with His. In all things we must seek praise not from man, but from God! And I know as we do so, it is then when miracles come.

With Love,
Elder Pond